What would a Valentine’s Day card say if it was written in the 1600s? Or the 1930s? Every era had its own words for ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’, and some of them sound quite funny today. Check out this list of historical pet names if you want to mix up your annual Valentine's card, or just have a good laugh.
The term was popular in the 1830s and its meaning is sweetheart, friend or lover. It originated from the longer phrase ‘I’m the huckleberry to your persimmon’ – a comparison of something small to something great.
In the 1930s, tomato was used as a term for an attractive woman! The term became popular just as talking movies made their debut, and it sure helped to spread and popularize it.
3. Old Thing
This one originally had a bad connotation. Records from the 18th century show it was used as a demeaning term for someone… well, old. Usually accompanied by another negative adjective, like “ugly old thing”. When looking at records from the 19th century, however, we find the phrase paired with warmhearted adjectives, like “dear old thing”, and eventually, the term came to be used on its own in an affectionate manner.
In Shakespeare’s era, this term could refer to a small child or a lover. It was popularized by the playwright himself after he used it in his ‘Henry’ plays.
Another one with an animal association, tib was a term for a young calf in 14th century England. Calves were then considered expensive and very cute, so by calling someone a tib, you would actually be calling them desirable.
During the 1880s, oyster was used in the way we would use diamond today. It was a way to describe someone truly outstanding, rare, and amazing.
7. All That and a Bag of Chips
The term ‘all that’ was coined during the 80s to describe someone impressive. In the 90s, people started using ‘all that and a bag of chips’, meaning that a person is the best and then some.
In the 1500s, the word bully had a completely different connotation than it does today. It used to be a gender-neutral term of endearment, like sweetheart or darling. In Shakespeare’s time, the word started being used for men only.
This one's a man to man endearment term used in the 1600s, meaning “fine fellow, my dear man”. It originated in French and was often used sarcastically.
10. Flutter Bum
Used in the 1950s, the term 'flutter bum' described men who were absolute dreamboats – both handsome and charismatic.