While some of the most common terms, like darling, pal and lovely do not show significant geographic patterns, others do. In the south, dear/my dear was common, particularly in East Anglia and Sussex, while mate seems popular in Essex, Suffolk, Manchester and Birmingham. Meanwhile, in the West Country, lover/my lover remains a popular term of endearment among all age groups.

In the Midlands, duck remains a popular term of endearment in Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Leicester among different age groups, while lamb was found to only be popular amongst people aged 85 and over. In Birmingham, you may hear the terms bab, cock/cocker and chick, which also extends up into Staffordshire.


Continuing northwards, the term pet was mainly reported in the northeast, retaining its popularity among different age groups. In Northumberland, the term hen was reported, which is also used in neighbouring Scotland, as well as the term hinny, which can be heard in Newcastle too. On the opposite side of the country in Cumbria, the term marra (friend) continues to be used. Meanwhile, in West and South Yorkshire, you might be called a chicken, and cock/cocker in Leeds and Manchester

Gender balance

This survey question also led us to uncover some interesting gender-based findings. We found that, although females were most likely to use love/my love and the most common response for the males was mate, mate was still the third most popular term for females who took part in our survey.

Interactive words map

Click this button to view the different responses to this question on a map.

You can tick the boxes on the side to select a word and show the places the word was used by the people who completed The Great Big Dialect Hunt. This map is based on where people grew up, not where they live now.