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Essential Italian Vocabulary – Common Terms of Endearment and Compliments

Terms of endearment abound in the Italian language. Couples have 1001 ways to refer to each other, and very often enjoy attempting to invent a "unique" one for themselves.

Many terms can also be used casually with friends as compliments and friendly gestures. Don't forget that Italians are very expressive people, so they won't hesitate to call you Tesoro (darling) or Caro (dear) even at first encounter.

This guide will point you in the right direction so you will be able to return the sentiment properly.

Common Italian Terms of Endearment/Compliments
Phrase in Italian Phrase in English Pronunciation
Caro/a Dear Cah-roh/Cah-rah
Ciao Hello (informal) Chee-ah-oh
Bello/a Beautiful Behl-loh/Behl-lah
Bellissimo/a Very beautiful Behll-ees-see-mah/Behll-ees-see-moh
Carino/a Cute Cah-ree-noh/Cah-ree-nah
Simpatico/a Nice Seem-pah-tee-koh/Seem-pah-tee-kah
Tesoro Darling (literally treasure) The-soh-roh
Ciao bello/a! Hi/Bye Beautiful! Chee-ah-oh behl-loh!/Chee-ah-oh behl-lah!
Ciao ciao! Bye bye! (informal) Chee-ah-oh  Chee-ah-oh!
Amore Love Ah-moh-reh
Ciao amore! Hello/Bye Love! Chee-ah-oh ah-moh-reh
Bacio Kiss Bah-choh
Abbraccio Hug Ahb-brah-choh
Dolce Sweet Dohl-che
(NAME)-ino/ina Little-(NAME)- term of endearment ... eenoh/...eenah
Angelo Literally: Angel- showing gratefulness An-jeh-loh
Gattino/a Little cat - term of endearment Gaht-tee-noh/Gaht-tee-nah
Passerotto/a Sparrow - term of endearment Pahs-she-roht-toh/Pahs-she-roht-tah
Piccolo/a Little - term of endearment Pee-koh-loh/Pee-koh-lah
Cucciolo/a Literally: Puppy (term of endearment) Koo-Cho-loh/Koo-cho-lah
Stella Literally: Star (term of endearment) Stehl-lah
Tesorino (Akin to sweetheart) The-soh-ree-noh
Dolcezza (Akin to sweetheart) dohl-che-tsah
Un bacione! A big kiss! (saying goodbye) Oon bah-cho-neh
Mi manchi I miss you Mee mahn-kee
Ti penso I think of you Tee pehn-soh
Grazie Thank you Grah-zee-eh
Prego You're welcome Preh-goh
Scusi/Scusa I'm sorry (Formal/Informal) Scoo-zee/Scoo-zah
Mi perdoni Excuse me Mee Pehr-doh-nee

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

  Expression in Italian Expression in English Pronunciation
Ti voglio bene! I love you! Tee voh-leeoh beh-neh
Ti amo! I love you! Tee ah-moh!
Ti voglio tanto bene! I love you a lot! Tee voh-leeoh tahn-toh beh-neh
Ti voglio un mondo di bene! I think the world of you! Tee voh-leeoh oon mohn-doh dee beh-neh

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