Go get 'em, Tiger! -- more like this plz
February 14, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

What are some "pet" names that empower or show confidence in the named party?

Many pet names infantilize or endear - "baby" "darling" "girl" etc. This is usually not what I am trying to communicate. I want to tell someone I think they are awesome and able.

Which pet names that express positive empowerment - "Tiger" "Angel" "Tough guy" (for kids) etc? Fine if they are over-the-top. I know these examples are. I can pull it off.

Yes, I saw this question.
posted by fake to Writing & Language (63 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Angel is empowering? To me, it implies a perhaps-unrealistic standard of behavior--places girls, particularly, on a pedestal.

"Sport" might be a good one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:55 AM on February 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Killer, Chief, Captain, Commander.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:56 AM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Champ. Killer. Cowboy/Cowgirl. Boss. El Heffe. I've heard women often refer to eachother as "mama" and it actually can come off as quite "I believe in you" as well. Doesn't really work as well when it's a dude, saying it, though.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:56 AM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


pop, doc, (but not papa doc), professor, brainiac
champ, chief (from other question)
coach, chef
Einstein
posted by alikins at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tiger
Governor
Senator
posted by AugustWest at 9:59 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Angel is empowering?

As you note, depends on who says it and how. Someone said it to me, I liked it.

For the purposes of this question please just assume that it's coming from the right person at the right time. If it needs to be said just so, please say how, like pazazygeek so helpfully did above.
posted by fake at 9:59 AM on February 14, 2012


Smarty (when said in an encouraging or impressed way, never to be paired with "pants")
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:05 AM on February 14, 2012


Ace, Killer
posted by rmd1023 at 10:08 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rockstar
posted by HopperFan at 10:11 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


My husband calls me Tigercat, which i adore. He wouldn't mind occasionally being referred to as "Megatron, Nice Guy in Disguise" but that's a bit long-winded for a pet name.
posted by mireille at 10:18 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am close with a couple who refer to each other as "Liger" and "Ligress," respectively ... I always thought it fit them.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:22 AM on February 14, 2012


Slugger.
posted by Sphinx at 10:31 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rex is latin for king and also conjures up associations of t-rex.
posted by alms at 10:34 AM on February 14, 2012


Husband calls me his "champignon," which he intends as both an endearing "mushroom" and a mangled version of "champion"
posted by sestaaak at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Zeus and Apollo.
posted by El_Marto at 10:37 AM on February 14, 2012


(initial) - money. As in, a gal named Cate would be called "C-money."
posted by kirst27 at 10:40 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


From a sociolinguistic point of view, any names that are typically "male" are going to suggest power, sexual prowess, etc. In particular the names of animals that can be used to describe human males: e.g. stud.

Any female names (e.g. patsy), in particular any names of food or animals that can be used (e.g. strumpet), will be on the other side of the spectrum.

So, as much as I hate to say this, just keep it 'male' and you should be fine.
posted by FunGus at 10:41 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've sort of wished I had Jami Oliver's accent so I could pull off calling women, "gorgeous," casually.

Maybe in the US, where the general meaning of "girl" is diluted, "lassie" or "lass?"

I have a friend who calls her good male friends, "handsome." Like, "Good to see you, handsome."
posted by cmoj at 10:48 AM on February 14, 2012


'Lady,' and delivered with the gravitas you'd normally hail a capital-L Lady.
posted by carsonb at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, 'Gent' works well and either pluralizes or extends nicely when addressing several men at once: Gents/Gentlemen
posted by carsonb at 10:51 AM on February 14, 2012


Mythological god names? I like Thor, Odin, Zeus, etc.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 10:51 AM on February 14, 2012


Goddess.
posted by Dragonness at 10:51 AM on February 14, 2012


I call my wife 'Champ' occasionally, or 'Hot Stuff', and sometimes 'Kitty-Cat' (which is not as empowering I guess, though I mean it like 'Sexy Cat'). I have on occasion called my wife 'Bruiser', because she is strong, and I very often call her 'H-Bomb', as her name starts with an 'H' and she is a bombshell (I call her this so often, in fact, that other people have picked it up a bit. It's a nickname that suits her well).

I have a friend who's name starts with a 'C', and signs things 'C-Note'. Her husband also calls her this.

ps. I often call my wife 'Fatty', but she knows I like her curves so she knows I mean it as a compliment (like 'Hottie').
posted by Pecinpah at 10:52 AM on February 14, 2012


Hot rod.
posted by workerant at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2012


I call my girlfriends "chica," "diva," "queen," and "lady". Sometimes "fierce" or "force" (as in "a force to be reckoned with").
posted by spunweb at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2012


Mama is also good.
posted by spunweb at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2012


I would stay away from superlatives like boss, captain, chief, big guy, Einstein... there's an element of insincerity in all of them. You don't get called "boss" if you're actually the boss.
posted by the jam at 11:11 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think "Number One" (a la Commander Riker) would be an awesome pet name for a kid. Unless there's more than one kid. "Number Two" is not as good.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:17 AM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a friend who calls me Gator. It started from her saying "see you later alligator" and then her determining that my superhero power was being an instagator (this was meant as a compliment) and then that alligators are shit kickers. So, Gator!
posted by Pineapplicious at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mistress or Master, but perhaps only in particular contexts...
posted by cranberry_nut at 11:25 AM on February 14, 2012


For the purposes of this question please just assume that it's coming from the right person at the right time.

I'm leaning towards the idea that your question is tautological. Virtually any pet name is empowering if said by the right person at the right time. And any pet name can be the opposite if said by the wrong person at the wrong time.

For example lots of people have mentioned "Champ" or "Chief" or "Killer". But any of those can and are used to mock people. It's all about context.

So I think the only true answer is to make sure you're the right person at the right time, the rest takes care of itself. If you're not the right person at the right time it won't matter what word you pick, it'll sound sarcastic or insincere.
posted by Justinian at 11:43 AM on February 14, 2012


My friend calls his 7-year-old daughter, "Scout". It implies curiosity, intrepidness, and independence. It fits her pretty well.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 12:07 PM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Interesting to me that almost all of these terms are gendered, and that the empowering ones are mostly male.

I call my friends "WOMAN" (always said in all-caps) or "girl" when I want to tell them how awesome they are. I think "lovely" and "beautiful" are strong and positive. Mostly, I like to throw around "you da BEST" or "you're so awesome" or "you GOT this".
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 12:07 PM on February 14, 2012


Brother and Sister come immediately to mind, as does Doc.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:16 PM on February 14, 2012


In college an older guru used to call me mighty mouse (I'm pretty small but really strong).
posted by LittleMy at 12:24 PM on February 14, 2012


Boss Lady

Can be used to describe a woman in the workplace, a strong woman on general, or one's wife. (Snoop Dogg called his wife that on his reality show)
posted by lovelygirl at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like these for both genders:

Player
Spitfire
Trouble
Rowdy
Pardner
Sparkplug
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


My boyfriend calls me Awesome Face. I dig it.
posted by superlibby at 1:12 PM on February 14, 2012


A guy I know calls his wife The Dutchess and sometimes The Dutchess of [whatever]. Another case of, it could be a disaster but it's from the right person and said in the right way. She is kind of a high maintenance Ab Fab type.
posted by BibiRose at 1:16 PM on February 14, 2012


In sport scenarios, I have heard 'beast' used in this way. For both males and females btw.
posted by seesom at 1:20 PM on February 14, 2012


I call my SO "honeybadger" because it sounds kinda sweet but it's really because she's a badass.
posted by kamikazegopher at 1:30 PM on February 14, 2012


Hot stuff, beauty, rock star, super hero, ninja, future president...
posted by Skwirl at 1:40 PM on February 14, 2012


Sensei, when you are calling upon their expertise. Boss, when you are letting them take charge of a project.
posted by HotToddy at 1:57 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


SUPERSTAR!
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2012


My aunt used to call me "Super-K" when I was little (K being my first initial). I loved it.
posted by mskyle at 3:10 PM on February 14, 2012


To a wife: "Yes, my queen."
posted by Mr. Justice at 3:42 PM on February 14, 2012


Rocky!
posted by AloneOssifer at 3:48 PM on February 14, 2012


I call my wife pine cone. Pine cones are tough but they are also fertile and interesting.

Don't underestimate the pine cone.
posted by Fister Roboto at 4:11 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


None? Nicknames always seem like they are diminishing or condescending. "Hey, meatball, you've got a name, but I'm not going to bother using it."

If you want to show someone your respect and admiration, use the name they have chosen to go by.
posted by gjc at 5:44 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goose. They are pretty and feathery, but also really fierce.
posted by Rapunzel1111 at 6:02 PM on February 14, 2012


Giant.
Big-Dog
Big man
King playa'
Big (whatever their first name starts with). So Galen would be Big-G.
posted by anitanita at 6:30 PM on February 14, 2012


As a kid, I was "Hot Shot." Hot Damn could be pretty cool, but it might, uh, raise a few eyebrows.
posted by pecanpies at 6:37 PM on February 14, 2012


Sometimes I use "wild man" or "wild woman."
posted by gentian at 8:01 PM on February 14, 2012


In conversation, the hubs and I are both "babe." In email, which we do approximately 50 times a day, in lieu of texting, because we work at real jobs, we go slightly insane. He might start his email with, "Hello, most amazing, wonderful wife," and I might reply, "Thank you, my brave, superhero husband." We also overexaggerate cliches--instead of "you're the bomb," we'll say, "you're all the bombs, babe." I don't know why we do this, except that we are nerdy and in love.
posted by elizeh at 8:01 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Metroid Baby said:
I think "Number One" (a la Commander Riker) would be an awesome pet name for a kid. Unless there's more than one kid. "Number Two" is not as good.


It's funny you should mention this. "Number Two" is my Dad's name for me. It's shorthand for "You're my favorite middle daughter." I am, of course, his Only middle daughter.

Just proof that names are what you make of them - for me this is affectionate and full of warm fuzzy feelings.
posted by Zebulias at 8:15 PM on February 14, 2012


I call my daughter "Monkey" or sometimes "Monk-Monk" - she's clever and nimble and funny.

Whatever you do, make sure it fits their real personality, and comes from love.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2012


I usually call my daughter "Beauty," and sometimes call her and my son "Splendid."
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:11 PM on February 14, 2012


Cole Porter, no question about it, nailed this one back in 1934.
posted by tangerine at 9:31 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Grand Moff"?
posted by oonh at 10:04 PM on February 14, 2012


Nicknames for my three daughters are Hawk, Bone, and Bubba. Wife hates it, girls love it. Especially when dad yells said names at swim meets and softball. Seems to give them a shit eatin', I am going to kick some ass grin.
posted by repoman at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2012


Sparky?
posted by kitkatcathy at 8:19 AM on February 15, 2012


Bobcat (as seen in season 3 of Veronica Mars)
posted by synchronia at 5:53 PM on February 15, 2012


It truly depends on the relationship and context.
For a long time I hate "babe" but if the right person
says it to me its empowering and sexy. My personal
favorites are:

Sir
Ma'am
Lady
Mister
and person specific nicknames. ;)

Personally I still hate 'women', to me "lady, Miss, Ma'am" etc
give a lady a sense of power/respect from the giving party.

Also these types of names in other languages work quiet well.
posted by misformiche at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2012


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