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Don't Call Me Chicken: The Definitive List Of Irish Pet Names, Ranked from Worst To Best

By katedemolder

December 20, 2016 at 12:10am


Ever not been entirely sure what your gran meant when she called you a pet? Ever wonder what the true meaning of hun is? Us too. So we decided to create a list.

In this list you will find a range of Irish petnames – whether coined here, or boasting their own unique slant when used here – that will definitely answer any thoughts, wonders or queries over what was really meant by these strange words.

23. Baby

The most hated of them all.

If your other half insists on calling you baby, then you are fully permitted to act like a tiny infant, spending your evening screaming, vomiting and crying. That'll show them.

22. Muffin

Although we understand that muffins may be sweet and delicious, we firmly believe that legislation should be written up banning every food-related petname from the universe.

This includes: Pudding, Angel Pie, Pumpkin, Treacle, Pickle, Honey Bun, Babycakes, Sugar Pie and of course, Muffin.

21. Bae

People can KIND OF get away with it when said in a joking mann.... Actually no, fuck that. It's awful. Don't use this.


20. Babe

Half a step up from 'bae'. But still a bit gross.

Not to mention remnant of a movie about a feisty pig.

19. Gobshite

People say it can be said affectionately, we say nay.

18. Chicken

How on earth is this supposed to please me in any way?

And don’t even start me on 'chicken licken'.


17. Chief

Laughable at first, then endearing.

16. Honey

Recently popularised by the song with the weirdest fucking video ever to exist, Bound 2 - Kanye West, dare I say it, honey has made a comeback!

She slots in nicely at number 16 on our list, whereas prior to Bound 2 (or indeed Sigma's Nobody To Love) it would have been way back at like 58.

15. Mate

Everyone's go-to word when doing an Aussie accent, 'mate' is the 'we're not really friends, more acquaintances' of the petname world. People weirdly enough only really start saying it in college.

14. Friend

Bit lame, but no-one between the ages of 16-32 can say it without it being in that stupid The Inbetweeners twang. Which makes it pretty gas for all involved.

13. Champ

Another slightly Americanised petname, but shockingly doesn't sound ridiculous in the Irish brogue.

Mostly used when people aren't actually champs, but they need a bit of cheering up. A real crowd-pleaser.

12. Girl

Akin to an old Irish mammy way of ‘guuuuuuurl’.

Not used in Dublin all that often, but your mum may whip it out while conversing with people from her youth. Most commonly used in the phrase 'good girl'.


11. Son

Arguably the most diverse on the list as it can be used in a truly loving way, but also be to put you right back in your box.

10. Fella

Usually preceeded by ‘chung’, ‘aul’ or ‘fine', this covers a multitude for our manlier readers.

''Thanks fella!''

9. Sweetheart

This would have for sure received a top 3 spot maybe 50 years ago, but it has been so brutally murdered by fake Oirish accents over the years that it has unfortunately taken a fallen.

For shame, Gerard Butler, for shame.

8. Bud

Similar to the American 'buddy'. Contrary to popular belief, this may actually be used on both males and females.

However, you must use with caution, for if you use it on the girl of your dreams, you will be friend-zoned for the rest life.


7. Lad

The Irish equivalent of the American ‘bro’ with the added bonus of not sounding like a total tool – though only when appended to the end of a sentence, addressed directly at the person in question.

'Lad' implies that you’re up for the craic, will keep your secrets and won’t say no to a sneaky Sunday sesh.

6. Love

Used in both a piss-take way to reunite with old friends (‘howiya luuuuuv’) and also in a total sweetheart you’re-the-one kind of way.

5. Hun

Although hun’s name has been somewhat tarnished over the past few years, it still holds its pride of place in the top five. An indisputable Irish petname. Except if you’re a boy.

I repeat: Do no use this if you’re a boy. It's weird.

4. Darlin’

It is important to know that there is no ‘g’ in this word. No sign of one at all.

Darlin' reached its peak in the 1959 film Darby O'Gill and The Little People (a definite must-watch for those of you who haven't had the pleasure). It features Sean Connery saying, and singing, the word darlin' an estimated 10283492 times.

Not to be confused with Darling, the surname of the bratty kids in Peter Pan.

3. -ín

Technically not a full petname in itself, but paramount in creating a new and unique petname right before your very eyes.

Hailing from the Irish word meaning ‘little’ this suffix can be stuck onto absolutely anything to imply that it is a smaller, cuter or sweeter version of itself. And we mean anything. E.g bookín, pigín, bookín, shagín.


2. Pet

While pets to the non-Gaelic world are domesticated animals that you feed and bathe and love within the surroundings of your home, pets to we Irish are people we hold dear.

Weird? Yes. Lovely? Also yes.

1. Dote

Originating from the verb ‘to dote’ on someone, this verbal trinket may be used on male, female, young, old, beguiling or not so much.

A dote is a person you want to be around all the time. Everything they do or say is exactly right and then some, while a round of applause is typically bestowed upon those who bring a dote home to meet the family.

Notable dotes: Michael D, Saoirse Ronan and John-Joe from the Late Late Toy Show.


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