term of endearment

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term of endearment (plural terms of endearment)

  1. A word, phrase, or nickname used as a term of address expressing affection.
    • 1846, Charles Dickens, chapter 1, in Dombey and Son:
      The words had such a softening influence, that he appended a term of endearment to Mrs. Dombey's name (though not without some hesitation, as being a man but little used to that form of address): and said, ‘Mrs. Dombey, my—my dear.’
    • 1987 Sept. 20, Nicholas D. Kristof, "Kidnap-Murder of 5-Year-Old Shakes Japan," New York Times (retrieved 25 June 2013):
      "Kun" is a term of endearment often used in Japan for small boys. Yoshi-kun lived with his parents and grandparents in a house in Takasaki.
    • 2002 June 16, Simon Robinson, "Tropical Trouble," Time:
      The people of Madagascar call him Deba, which means Big Boss. When President Didier Ratsiraka came to power 26 years ago, the moniker was meant as a term of endearment.