Whenever I write a book set in a region with a dialect (or even a language) all its own, I love to look up endearments and slang unique to them. I first looked up Cornish words when I wrote A Name Unknown, set near Land’s End in Cornwall. Well, I got to dust off that research again when I decided to write the Secrets of the Isles series, set in the Isles of Scilly, which is also part of Cornwall.

Two closely related words that I love using are dearover and dearovim (feminine and masculine, respectively). The words are just contractions of “dear of her” and “dear of him.” It’s thought that it was first a phrase used as an exclamation of affection when someone did something kind “Oh, isn’t that dear of her!” and eventually was elided together. “Isn’t that dearover!” And then eventually became a term for the person herself or himself. “Oh, dearover, come here for a cuddle!” 😉

It’s a term I’ve used in my books because that “dear” part makes it recognizable to our ears and eyes and doesn’t require much of an explanation.

Are there any terms of endearment unique to your region, or perhaps to your family?

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