French Terms of Endearment


‘Céline, what are the pet names that French mums use for their children?’ asked my friend Michela.

Of course! She probably heard them at school, the park or supermarket but wasn’t exactly sure what they were saying, so I thought back to all those French-flavoured sweet names:

‘mon p’tit canard’ (my little duckling), ‘mon p’tit lapin’ (my little bunny), ‘mon trésor’ (my treasure), ‘mon amour’ (my love), ‘ma poulette’ (my hen), ‘mon poussin’ (my chick), ‘mon ange’ (my angel)…

‘No’, she said, ‘it was something different’

‘ma puce’ (my…’flea’), ‘ma p’tite guenon’ (my little-female -monkey), ‘ma crevette’ (my shrimp), fripouille (little spoilt brat)…

‘Cute!’ she said ‘tell me more’

coquinette’ (small and cheeky), ‘mon doudou’ (cuddly toy), ‘titours’ (teddy bear),‘mon bout’d chou’ (piece of cabbage), …

‘Not bad’ she said… ‘but is there something witty, or some quirky ways the French use as a moniker for their children?’

Slightly embarrassed, I gave in, remembering all those childhood bedtimes cuddling up with my mother, when my self-esteem probably took a beating: ’mon petit crottin de cheval’, I said.

Crottin de cheval? Is that a Savoyard cheese ?!’


Photos credit and copyright C. A. 2012


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