(See more synonyms for 'darling' at thesaurus.com) Of course, in the multicultural hubbub that is the UK, this list is considerably longer, as people from faiths and backgrounds across the world toss the term of endearment around their day-to-day British lives.

Each ‘darling’ is a window into the type of person the speaker is, the part of the UK they live in and their cultural background – and, of course, where they are at in the relationship with the ‘darling’ they are addressing.

Even if you called them ‘darling’ before, everything now becomes extremely complicated. Listen out for ‘my lamb’ in the south of the UK; ‘chuck’ in the north; ‘bairnie’ in Scotland (‘bairn’ being the Scots word for ‘child’); and ‘mhuirnín’ or ‘stóirin' in Ireland.

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They all swore that it made them feel manly and adored. And it kind of has that 1950's ring to it, so it makes sense... Which terms of endearment do you use with your man?

Education UK's Ellie Buchdahl looks at the many variations of the word in British English in the run-up to Valentine's Day on 14 February. It is not elaborate, it is not tidy, its grammar twists and turns and ties itself in knots, and yet it is crammed with colourful offcuts of every other language – and this is exactly what makes it both exceptionally beautiful and thoroughly practical.

Naturally, English has a whole host of terms for this too – pal, mate, chum, cocky, bro, dude… In English – especially UK English – there are many ways to explain to other people that you’ve developed ‘a bit of a crush’: to fancy someone; to kind of like someone; to like someone in that way… Come the 60-year anniversary, many British couples are content with a few grunts over the breakfast tea and toast. Find out more about learning English in the UK at Education UK.

A little bit more than friendly darlings What happens when epiphany strikes and that person who was once your darling ‘pal’ suddenly appears in a whole new light? None of these terms should ever be directed to the object of your affection. Children However, while British English speakers may lose interest in creative terms for each other when age sets in, they make up for this in words for their children.

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