Wey Aye Pet

LoveGeist Report reveals:

pet names

LONDON,  October 2014: Are you a darling or a ducky? Sweetheart or sexy? According to match.com’s latest LoveGeist report, it could all depend upon where you live. The dating expert has today unveiled a comprehensive study into the pet names we use for our partners and those we’re dating.


According to match.com’s research of over 3,500 respondents across Britain (which polled the general public as well as singles from large urban areas) 55 per cent of UK adults have (or have had) a pet name for a loved one. And they’re not ashamed to admit it: two thirds (67 per cent) of them said they’d be happy to call a partner by their pet name in front of friends or family.


‘Darling’ is the UK’s most common term of endearment for both men and women, being used by 29 per cent of those who have pet names for a partner. This was closely followed by ‘love’ and ‘babes or babe’ (both 23 per cent). However, the study showed a huge regional variation in how Brits refer to their partners.


Those in London and the South of England were more likely to use ‘darling’ than any other pet name, while ‘love’ was the favoured term of affection in the North of England (32 per cent) and Wales (42 per cent). ‘Ducky’ was most popular across the Midlands (10 per cent, compared to 3 per cent UK-wide), and ‘sweetheart’ was most commonly used in the East of England (30 per cent). Singles in the Tyne & Wear area were the most likely to use ‘pet’ (17 per cent), while 22 per cent of Mancunians favour ‘sexy’.

Regional Variations:

  • London: Darling is the most popular pet name, used by 28 per cent of those who have (or have had) a nickname for a partner
  • Yorkshire: ‘Love’ is the favoured term of endearment, used by 31 per cent of singles
  • Glasgow/Edinburgh: You’re most likely to call your loved one ‘honey’ or ‘hun’ (used by 28 per cent of singles in the area)
  • Merseyside: There’s a lorra lorra ‘loves’ (used by 31 per cent of singles in the area), but Scousers are more likely to use ‘babe’ or ‘babes’ (35 per cent)
  • Tyne & Wear: More than three times as likely to use ‘pet’ than any other region surveyed (used by 17 per cent of singles in the area)
  • Wales: ‘baby’ is most commonly used in Wales (29 per cent)
  • Midlands: those in the Midlands were more than three times as likely to use ‘ducky’ than the UK (10% vs. 3 per cent)
  • Manchester: most likely to use ‘sexy’ (22 per cent of single respondents who have ever referred to a partner by a pet name)
  • East of England: sweetheart is favoured by 30 per cent who use a pet name*


The research also found that Brits will use pet names when they start communicating with someone through a mobile dating app. The most popular pet name to use when singles first start chatting is ‘hun’ or ‘honey’ with over a quarter (28 per cent) admitting they use the term. ‘Babe’ is also a popular term of endearment with 26 per cent, whilst 21 per cent use the term ‘darling’. Only one in ten word use the word ‘love’ when starting a conversation with a potential date, and just seven per cent ‘sexy’.


However, many of those who have been in a relationship also had alternative monikers for their partners when speaking about them to others. 15 per cent of men have referred to their loved one simply as ‘the boss’, whilst ‘her indoors’ (9 per cent) and ‘the ball and chain’ (3 per cent) were also employed by males to describe their partner. Some were more forgiving, with 14 per cent opting for ‘my better half’. Females were more mild-mannered, opting for ‘the hubby’ (20 per cent), ‘husband’ (51 per cent) or ‘partner’ (28 per cent).


match.com’s resident relationship expert, Kate Taylor, comments: “Pet names play an important role at every stage of relationships. Before a couple get together, they often use fun, flirty nicknames for each other to move ahead to a more personal level of interaction. It creates a tiny shared bond. When dating, pet names are used to reinforce a couple’s bond, both privately and to the outside world, whilst in long-term relationships, “love” or “pet” can become simple shorthand for, “I care about you.”


Taylor continues: “Pet names are an effective way of adding romance to everyday communications. The success of email-based dating websites shows us how important words are for fostering relationships, so use them!”


Since launching in 2009, match.com’s definitive annual LoveGeist study has tracked the nation’s changing attitudes towards dating and relationships, taking into account the views and attitudes of over 200,000 people. The LoveGeist Report is published by match, the company behind the UK’s best-known dating and relationship sites match.com and matchaffinity.com.


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Notes to Editors:

Since it was launched in 2009, match.com’s definitive annual LoveGeist study has tracked changing attitudes towards love and relationships in the UK and Ireland, taking into account the views and attitudes of over 200,000 people. The report has built up a unique picture of what people really care about when it comes to love and relationships, providing an insight into current and emerging trends.


Research undertaken by YouGov Plc; interpretation by Brands2Life.


Nationally representative survey:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,064 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 11th September 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


Targeted singles survey:

Total sample size was 2,178 adults who are single (i.e. not in a committed relationship), including singles from the nationally representative study and those from the following conurbations: Greater London, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and Edinburgh & Glasgow. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 11th September 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures are unweighted.




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