The Czechs may not always seem like the warmest people. They don’t care for small talk and over-the-top politeness. Because of this, some may think that the Czech language doesn’t lend itself to poetic expressions of affection.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although the Czechs might not often display their softer side to strangers, things are different when it comes to their private lives. They often get very creative with the terms of endearment they use.
This guide covers the most common Czech terms of endearment and affection, for romantic partners, family and friends.
Even though there are many different ways to express affection in Czech, there are some pet names that are used more frequently than others. These are:
You can use « zlato » and « zlatíčko » for someone you are in a relationship with, as well as for a small child.
« Láska » and « miláček » are only used for romantic partners.
Important note: Remember, Czech uses the vocative case when directly addressing someone. So, when addressing your partner, you would say “moc mi chybíš, lásko” (I miss you very much, love) – in this case, the “a” changes to an “o” in the vocative.
When it comes to terms of affection, Czechs don’t shy away from calling their partners “little (something).” Calling someone “little” is considered very sweet and loving in Czech.
Czechs also often use animal names to express affection for their partners.
Here are some things one might call their boyfriend or husband:
Czech women don’t get quite as many animal nicknames when it comes to pet names.
Still, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t enough terms of affection for them. There are – and some are slightly on the cheekier side.
Family members don’t usually refer to each other using pet names such as “darling.” This rarely, if ever, happens.
At the same time, Czechs rarely call their parents “mother” and “father.” Instead, they might use a diminutive version of those words.
Here are some examples:
The Czech word for “mother” is « matka ». However, this is almost never used. In fact, if you refer to your mom as « matka », she might think you hate her or have a problem with her.
This is what Czechs might actually call their mothers:
The Czech word for “father” is « otec ». Again, this is almost never used.
Here is what you can use instead:
“Grandmother” in Czech is « babička ». This is used very often, even though there are still some other versions you might come across. These are:
The Czech word for grandfather is « děda ». Much like « babička », this version of the word is used frequently. But it is not the only option.
The Czech word for “sister” is « sestra », while the Czech word for “brother” is « bratr ». These are rarely ever used when referring to one’s sibling, as they come across as harsh and emotionally distant.
This is what Czechs use instead:
Czechs love spoiling their little children and grandchildren. Part of that is showering them with affection, which, of course, includes pet names.
Here are some of the most common Czech terms of affection for little children:
When it comes to their friends, Czechs don’t use pet names and terms of endearment very often. There are some, however, some exceptions to this:NKN
NKN stands for nejlepší kamarád/ka navždy. It’s the Czech version of “BFF” (or best friends forever).
NKN used to be a popular thing to call one’s best friend, especially among school children. However, it is rarely used anymore, as nowadays, most children will prefer the English “BFF.”Kámo
Kámo isn’t exactly the most affectionate word, but it suggests a level of closeness between two friends. It’s used when addressing one’s friend (but not when referring to them).
Kámo could be translated as “mate” or “bro.”
Czechs rarely refer to each other by their full name. Instead, they shorten or otherwise change up each person’s name to create a feeling of familiarity.
For example, a woman called Alžběta would rarely go by that name. Most of her friends would call her by a nickname, such as Bětka, Bety, or Bětuška.
This also goes for a man called Vojtěch. He most likely lets his friends call him Vojta or Vojtík.
Czechs like to use a lot of irony and sarcasm. This tendency can be seen even when it comes to terms of endearment.
When consuming Czech media, you might come across the following terms when someone is talking about their romantic partner:
This isn’t exactly the nicest way to refer to one’s partner, but Czechs often use it as a joke. They rarely do it in front of their significant other – it’s mostly a way to say “my partner” in front of your friends while also being a bit cheeky.
Be careful when using these expressions, though, especially when referring to your female partner. Some women may consider these terms slightly misogynistic.
In fact, nowadays, these terms are rarely used by people under 30 – even though older people still use them quite frequently.
While in English, saying “I love you” works in most situations, this isn’t the case in Czech. Czechs have different versions of “I love you” that they use depending on the context. You wouldn’t tell your parents you love them with the same words you’d use for your wife or husband.
Here are the different ways to say “I love you” in Czech:1 Miluju tě.
« Miluju tě » is the most direct translation of “I love you.” Czechs use this phrase for their boyfriends and girlfriends. Some may use it for their friends as well, although this is not at all common.
Note: Technically, the more grammatically correct version of this phrase is « Miluji tě » . However, this is rarely used, as it sounds way too formal. Nevertheless, you may still come across this version on greeting cards.2 Mám tě rád/a.
« Mám tě rád/a » is how Czechs say “I love you” when talking to their friends, family, or children. It’s a platonic way to express affection.
« Mám tě rád/a » could be translated as “I like you” or “I hold you in affection.”3 Jsem do tebe zamilovaný/á.
This phrase is only used in a romantic context. It means “I’m in love with you.”4 Zbožňuju tě.
« Zbožňuju tě » means “I adore you.” It is mostly used when speaking to one’s romantic partner.5 Líbíš se mi.
« Líbíš se mi » is how Czechs tell someone they are interested in them romantically. It can be translated as “I fancy you,” “I like you,” or “I have a crush on you.”Conclusion
Czechs can come across as somewhat cold and distant when you first meet them. But once they open up, they might surprise you with their flowery language and imaginative expressions of love.
Czechs don’t talk about their feelings often – but when they do, they make sure you won’t be able to forget about it easily.