Puerto Rican Terms of Endearment

Only a Puerto Rican can understand and relate to these popular Puerto Rican terms of endearment and expressions of love.  However, being in a bicultural relationship means conveying and explaining to my better half that if I call you Papi/Pai, I’m not really calling you Daddy. It’s simply a term of endearment for males. In my case, my husband, and son whom I call Papi, both respond. Hahaha!

Puerto Rico Terms of Endearment

The same goes with Mami/Mai. We call all of the women in our lives Mami not only our mother but our sister, girlfriend, cousin, nieces, etc. I find it hilarious when visiting my Mom in Puerto Rico, and having my nieces over, and I call them Mami, and my Mom is in the kitchen responding ¿Qué?; and I say, it’s not you! She seriously gets annoyed. Sweet!

Puerto Rico Terms of Endearment mother and child

Expressions of Love

Other terms of endearment are corazón de melón (melon heart) which refers to you being a sweet or big-hearted person. Calling someone negrito/negrita (literal translation is little black) is not an insult or demeaning it’s simply another term of endearment used to refer to anyone of any skin color who is Puerto Rican. For instance, Negrita, ven acá. Hola negrito.  Puerto Ricans love to ask for la bendición (asking for the blessing) is usually the first and the last word you say when you approach or leave your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles.

When we visit Puerto Rico I often remind my son, “Don’t forget to say bendición to Abuela.” Right after that precious word that I hold dear to my heart, I hear the words “Dios te bendiga…” Followed by a “…hija, negrita, mi amor.”

Of course, it’s a Puerto Rican thing so it’d sound funny if he tells his African American grandma Bendición. Heading back home at the airport, and bidding our farewell  I say to Mami “Bendición” and she hugs us, and says “Dios los bendiga.” 

Sadly this is one of those Puerto Rican terms of endearment that get lost from one generation to another.  For instance, third generation Puerto Ricans (grandkids) don’t often say it. Especially if they’re being raised in the states. It’s uncommon to use here and honestly, when they go back to Puerto Rico they are not used to it.  However, my son, rather than say bendición, he says Dios te bendiga. My mom just melts when he tells her that.

The quintessential and most recognized Puerto Rican terms of endearment is no other than the word: ¡Wepa!

Last but not least important, is our famous ¡Wepa! Not so much of endearment, but an expression of celebration, joy, and jubilation. Pronounced “weh-pah” and you yell the word! LOL Wepa is a Puerto Rican expression of pride!

Now let’s clarify one thing, Puerto Ricans are not saying ¡Wepa! 24 hours 7 days a week.  Not like, in a popular children’s cartoon on PBS Network Alma’s Way the story of a Alma, a six-year old Puerto Rican girl who lives with her family in the Bronx.  Let me tell you, they go a little overboard with the word, Wepa  While cute not very realistic, if you know, you know. LOL 

Do you use any of these Puerto Rican terms of endearment or expressions of love? Let me know in the comments.

Puerto Rican terms of endearment
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  1. I taught my children early on to say la Bendición to their grandparents on my side and aunts and uncles on my side. Their father’s family a very Americanized especially el hibaro de Mayaguez grandpa but he’s the first to deny traditions. I explained to my children when they were adolescents the meaning and purpose of la Bendición. No one ever explained it to me though. Now that they’re adults they still say it. And we were born in the states. It was instilled in our DNA LOL 😂

    1. Author

      Hi Eve! Love this so much and how you taught your children when they were young. The best part is that they continue to do so. At the end of the day, it is up to us to continue the traditions instilled in our DNA LOL ¡¡¡Wepa!!!

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