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Using Nicknames

I learned the Halacha that we are not to address people by using nicknames (derogotory) but are we permitted to address our husband or our friends in an endearing term such as “honey” or “dear” or “sweetheart”? I am so accustomed to using these terms (in an endearing manner is my intent) to address those I love and also new people I meet or talk to on the phone and I thought that these are endearing and loving ways to address people. I just learned of the Halacha about nicknames and I never want to violate Halacha and I want to do only the right thing at all times. Am I permitted to address those I love and others that I know and/or meet in this way?

Rabbi, thank you so much for your help to me and Shabbat shalom.


The halachah of using nicknames only applies to derogatory nicknames, that will cause the person involved discomfort or shame. Endearing nicknames such as “darling” and so forth are perfectly fine, and you can go on using them freely.

Best wishes, and Shabbat Shalom.

Sources: The prohibition of using nicknames is part of the general prohibition of ona’as devarim (Bava Metzia 58b), and applies only when the names can cause hurt.

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