There's no denying that being in a relationship has perks that go beyond splitting rent. You can call your S.O. with random updates about your day and cuddle together before bed. They know your Starbucks order by heart, and, if y’all are really tuned into each other, they can tell what you’re thinking without you having to say a word. Sometimes, being in a relationship can feel like you’re speaking your own secret language that only you can decode. And if TikTok’s “marriage language” trend is any indication, some couples take this quite literally.
TikTok's #marriagelanguage hashtag has amassed over 25 million views on the clock app, and with it, creators are revealing the funny, cringeworthy, sometimes downright ridiculous terms they use with their partners to describe everyday things, showing their partners a pic of a random object and asking, “What’s this?” or “What do we call this?” Their partner then responds with whatever it is they call that thing. It's part baby talk, part nonsense, and it's cute but also high-key, uh, a little nauseating?! In like, a good way—promise!
For example, one might say “swimps” instead of “shrimps,” or “pat pat” instead of “backpack.” In @livzbihley’s video, chicken nuggets are “chicken nuggies” and iced coffee is a “liv laugh latte.” (What!) Instead of “jeans,” creator @livingdeadjess and her partner says “yeems,” and for @jennichapmanphotography and her fiancée, a water bottle is (naturally) a “wobby bobby.” Creator @danigolub and her husband call hair ties “hair gigglies” (which, TBH, is way more fun) and for @liliannawilde and her husband, peaches are, hilariously, “booty fruit.” (Makes sense!)
Essentially, it’s a leveled-up version of baby talk, which isn’t necessarily a new thing (people have been baby talking for eons), but it also just includes non-serious names for normal places and things, like @emshearer1’s “Samuel’s Club" for Sam’s Club or “Jersey Michael’s” for, yup, Jersey Mike’s.
No matter how cheesy you wanna take it, marriage language seems to be a universal experience—and you don’t necessarily have to be married to have one. Best friends are also joining in with their own language, like @lyssabutz and her bestie, who call cheese “chez” and Alicia Keys “Alicia Beans.” Does it make sense? No, but that’s the whole point. So we asked 10 readers what terms they use with their partners—from the cringe-yet-cute pet names to the random words that make zero sense to the outside world—to prove you’re not the only one with a silly, secret language, and that there are no limits to just how wacky it can get.
“We’ve been married for two years and been together for seven. It’s so cringe, but we’ll double a word and add a rhyme to it. For example, if I want to say ‘pass the chocolate,’ I’d say ‘pass the choccy wocky’ or instead of ‘cook the shrimp’ it’s ‘shrimpy wimpy.’ We also call each other ‘boobie’ but I’ll sometimes call him my ‘schnoobie boobie’ for the rhyme or ‘boobie doobie.’” 😂 —Sabrina, 27
“Here is our evolution: Started with ‘Papi’ which I quite liked…then slid to Poopi, Poop, Scoopi, Scoop, and now Super-Scoops…and sometimes we will accidentally say it in front of our parents or in public.” —Tim, 39
“We’ve been married for three years. We call the TV remote the ‘me-mote’ which is the weirdest one we do, I think. I’ve slipped up a couple of times in front of company and called it ‘the me-mote’ and they’re like, huh?? We say things are ‘so toot’ instead of so cute. Whenever we’re frustrated at each other but laughing about it we say ‘why you do dis’ (which happens a lot). We used to say ‘lub chew’ (love you) when we first started dating.” —Emily, 30
“We met through an app and dated for six months before getting engaged and have now been married for four years. We affectionately call each other ‘dumb dumb,’ and after an evening round of Mario Kart and random joking around, we now sometimes jokingly refer to my vagina as my Tanooki.” —Jenna*, 29
“I was in an on-and-off relationship for years with a boy I met in high school, and we are still close friends. We say ‘wawa’ when referring to ‘water’—a habit that began with our cats, and then transferred to everyday life pretty embarrassingly. We shared custody of the cats for years after the breakup, so it continued. Now I live with other people and find myself saying ‘wawa’ out loud to full grown adults. It’s pure insanity.” —Meredith, 33
“We tend to make things sound baby-ish, so ‘drive’ is ‘dwive,’ for example. We also will use really bad grammar. We'll say ‘how u eep’ instead of ‘how did you sleep?’" —Rach, 18
“Straight up, my BF and I use the term ‘stinky’ as a term of endearment. Like, ‘hello my stinky/how are you my little stinky?’ and we also use it as a term of love for our dog: ‘How are you, Miss Stinky?’ I think it started as, we find that word hysterical (because it objectively is), and it just stuck! I am not burdened with caring what other people think should they hear those words leave my mouth.” —Maria, 24
“We say ‘ee’ which usually means one of us has bad news, we're reacting to something cringy, or saw something scary, like a bug.” —Taneia, 25
“I’m married to my spouse who’s gender queer. We’ve been married for a year but together for five. And that whole time we’ve been ethically non-monogamous. I call my partner ‘goose’ because I think they’re the funniest person I’ve ever met. Then when I want to make them laugh, I’ll call them cute things (my little dumpling, my little cupcake, my little marshmallow) before transitioning to the most random items I can think of (my little doorknob, my little dish soap, my little house key). They say I’m annoying, but they always laugh and kiss me after.”—Sondra, 35
“One of us once accidentally said, ‘can you toothbrush my toothpaste?’ instead of the correct order, so now we exclusively say it backwards. We call our dog—whose name is Ellie—‘pup’, and change every song lyric so it's about her. So we're walking around the house all day singing stuff like, ‘it's pup, hi, she's the problem it's her’ or ‘I'm gonna take this pup to the old town road!’ For some reason we've [also] changed ‘how come?’ to ‘why come?’ Not sure why or when, but it's gotten to the point where I say it in public to other people and have to correct myself.” —Riana, 31
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