What Does It Mean When a Guy Calls You Babe?

Last Updated on November 12, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

You’ve just been called babe, wondering why and what your guy means by it.

So, what does it mean when a guy calls you babe? If this guy is not your boyfriend, it can be that he likes you, especially if he only says it to you.

Look out for other signs of attraction when he’s with you. But beware if a guy starts calling you babe to be condescending or as a power play.

Since there are so many reasons for a guy calling you babe, it’s essential to consider the context. By doing so, you’ll better understand if there was a reason for him to start calling you babe.

Is “Babe” a Romantic Term?

There’s good reason why this term is one of the most common pet names today. When we see a real-life baby girl, we want to love, care for, and protect her because we view her as precious. 

is babe a romantic term

When guys call women “babe,” it’s because they evoke the same kind of emotions. In the US, that’s how the word “baby” came into use for lovers. When a man calls you “babe,” he’s using a short form of “baby.”

“Babe’s” use as a pet name for a romantic partner started in America’s 19th and 20th centuries. 

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first example of the term used with a romantic meaning in 1911. It’s in the Rodgers and Hart lyrics: “Oh, ma babe, waltz with me, kid. Gee, you’ve got me off ma lid.”

The Etymology of Being Called Babe

Katherine Connor Martin, head of US dictionaries at Oxford University Press, says, “the first meaning of baby remains baby, or infant, while babe in modern years is something you’d never call a child, except for Jesus at Christmastime.”

All this begs the question, why? What about the word “babe” makes it an expression of romantic love? 

Babe Etymology

“Babe” captures love in its best and worst manifestations, all at once. This cute nickname is gentle and kind, an expression of our best self loving another. 

As a pet name, it’s a cut above some of the odd endearments from abroad. There’s “my flea” (French), “little elephant” (Thai), and “diving fish swooping geese” (Chinese).

We looked at the scientific literature for research on pet names and relationship happiness. We found only one stand-out paper: Sweet Pea and “Pussy Cat”: An examination of Idiom Use and Marital Satisfaction over the Life Cycle.

This paper appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 1993. Study leader Carol Bruess said, “I fell in love with the idea that I could look at the micro-moments that create relationships.”

Just a Friend? Or is There More?

There’s no correct answer for when to start calling someone sweet names like “baby,” “hon,” “sweetie,” or “cutie.” In fact, you and your significant other might decide not to do cute nicknames. 

Just a Friend? Or is There More?

Pet names, according to experts, aren’t super important in making a relationship last. But they can spice things up. 

“Babe” is the go-to for SO nicknames, and if you’re stumped for a pet name, it’s a good idea to try it as it’s so common and low-stakes.

What is the Meaning of “Babe” in a Relationship?

Why do we call people babe? 

The term has a somewhat casual feel in some situations. It is often one of the most straightforward terms of endearment a guy uses with a girl early on. It has a remarkable range of possible meanings.

Babe in a relationship

You need to understand each one before moving on with your dating experience.

Before we move on, it’s important to note that it’s okay if you prefer to call your significant other by his name.

Or you can think up your own term of endearment. There’s no reason why you must refer to your SO as “baby.” Instead, do whatever makes sense for your relationship. 

What the Experts Say

“Babe or baby are not the only words that can be used as terms of endearment,” says Dating Expert of Dating.com, Maria Sullivan. “It can be even more fulfilling to call your partner by a name backed by something more personal, like a nickname or inside joke.” 

What the experts say

Sullivan urges caution in using the term. She warns that you may suggest that you like the person without even realizing you’re doing it.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, informally, “babe” is “a word you can use when you are talking to someone you love such as your wife, husband, partner, etc.”

Budding Relationships

What does it mean when the guy you like (who’s not yet your boyfriend) calls you babe? 

In some cases, it means nothing. Your guy calls you by a pet name because he likes the sound of it. 

Budding Relationships

Or, if he’s the affectionate type, he may use it when you spend quality time together. Either way, when your crush calls you “babe,” it sends shock waves through your body. Why? Because it’s a term associated with him liking you.

In the same way, words like “babe” signify his growing attachment to you if you’re already seeing each other. It means he cares for you and wants you (and the whole world) to know it. 

He might say “babe” when you’re alone together to get your attention. Or he might use it when he’s hanging out with all his friends to show them you’re taken. As in:

  • I love this song. Wanna dance, babe?
  • What would you like to drink, babe?

Babe Couples

According to Urban Dictionary, babe couples are a thing. These couples call each other babe in every single sentence. 

Most couples do this at the start of their relationship. It’s a way of letting everyone know they’re together, but after a while, it wears off.

Babe Couples

Babe couples keep it up throughout their relationships. They do it to the chagrin of their close friends.

The annoyance factor aside, calling you babe is one of a few subtle things your guy can do to show you that he cares for you. 

It’s also a way of showing off to his male friends so they see the spark of love in your relationship. He wants it to be a clear sign that you’re together and are now more than friends. 

When a Guy Starts Calling you Babe in Public

If he’s calling you babe in front of other women, it’s pretty serious. Plus, when he calls you babe, we’re sure you feel special. 

After a while, if he calls you by your real name, you might feel like something is wrong in the relationship.

When a Guy Starts Calling you Babe in Public

The word “babe” is an excellent barometer of your relationship status. If he uses the term with all the girls he talks to, he may tend to flirt. So, he may not be good relationship material. 

Or, if a guy friend you’re not dating calls you babe, he could be sending you a message that he wants things to go further. Have you been dating for a while, and he’s started calling you babe? You can tell yourself that things are getting serious.

As a couple, it’s normal for you to find nicknames you each feel comfortable with. Use them with confidence. Love it. Own it. You’ll want to commit to that relationship 100 percent if it makes you feel special. 

The beauty of the word babe is that it’s so familiar you don’t have to be afraid to use it from the get-go. Nobody will bat an eyelid when they hear you or him say it.

6 Reasons Why Guys Call You Babe

There’s no one answer to what it means when a man calls you “babe.” There are certain things to consider here. It depends on the guy and how he feels about you. It could be that he likes you, but it can also suggest that you’re just a friend to him.

6 Reasons Why Guys Call You Babe

The word “babe” can be misleading, and you likely don’t want to frighten guys off by asking them how they feel about you. In fact, you might not even know what questions to ask! Based on your circumstances, it can mean many things. 

Likely, you don’t have a degree in human psychology. Like most girls, you’re also not an expert in deciphering the complexities of male behavior. But you know what your gut tells you because only you can understand the situation.

Below, we will mention some reasons why a guy calls you babe. We’ll also give you the body language signals you can expect to see with them.

#1 He thinks you’re attractive

Men often resort to calling women “babes” because they find them attractive. Is he around the same age as you? Has he changed his behavior and body language in a positive way when he is around you?

He thinks you’re attractive

If he has, then it’s likely that he says it because he finds you beautiful. But his motives may not always be honorable. 

It’s okay to see yourself as the most beautiful girl in the world. But beware of the guy who tries to spoil you with compliments.

#2 He thinks you’re special

If a guy does not use your real name but calls you by a sweet nickname, it could be that he thinks you’re special and wants you to know it.

#3 He likes you

Mere attraction is not the only reason why he starts calling you babe. You may have noticed that he’s been going out of his way to please you.

He likes you

He’s being extra sweet, buying you gifts, asking to spend more time with you. In short, he’s trying to woo you in your love language.

If he calls you babe after all that, you can be sure he has feelings for you.

#4 He wants to take things to a new level

Have you been intimate with him yet? If not, he may be using the term “babe” as an attempt to heat up your dating life. Guys often use it to tell you they’re interested in getting physical.

#5 It’s how he addresses women 

Check out his behavior. Does he call other girls pet names like babe or sugar? If he does, it may be due to a lack of communication skills, and you shouldn’t read more into it. 

It’s how he addresses women

Consider it a casual comment. Calling you that means your guy finds you attractive and wants to be around you. You can even flirt back and have a little fun with him. 

#6 It’s a power play

Do you think he’s calling you babe as a power play? If he is, he’s likely been displaying other dominating-type behaviors. 

These behaviors can include:

  • Deepening his voice
  • Holding eye contact with people for longer than normal
  • Narrowing his eyes to look at people
  • Telling people to do things
  • Placing his hands or feet on things that don’t belong to him
  • Taking up lots of space
  • Touching people
  • Situating himself to be at the center of things

What does it mean when a guy calls you babe, and you’re not dating?

We sometimes act like when a guy calls you something, he means only that. But most of us are wrong about the truth behind guys’ words. 

When he calls you “babe,” but you are not his girlfriend, he may be using the word to get your attention. So he may use it in a group setting or when he feels that your focus has wandered from your conversation with him.

What does it mean when a guy calls you babe, and you’re not dating

This cute nickname he has established for you is his means of making it known that he wants you to be his baby. 

If your guy starts calling you “babe” while you’re still in the talking stage, he’s making moves on you. And it’s a big deal! It’s an excellent way to hint that he’s interested in you. Pay attention to him to see how often he’s calling you “babe.”

He’s Ready to Step Up His Game

Has he started using the “B” word more often? That’s a clear indication that he likes you. You’re the perfect woman in his eyes, and he’s not afraid to say it to the important people in his life.

And that’s not a bad thing. His goal is to be your SO and he’ll go the extra mile to ensure that that happens. In fact, he’ll keep on using it till you show him the feeling is mutual. Or until he sees that you’re not interested. 

He’s Ready to Step Up His Game

Beware of the guy who does not talk about you on social media. A guy who wants you will be open about his relationship with you. If he uses cute names for other women, he may have a bit of the player personality.

When a guy calls you “babe” over text, consider how he uses the term, and think about your feelings towards him. If you’d like him to continue, then good for you! If not, you may need to talk about how you prefer for him to address you.

Romance with him may be too early to predict, it’s okay to assume that he likes you a lot. Why? Because he is showing a clear signal of his attraction to you. But if the cute nicknames are coming too soon, you may have a clingy boy on your hands, so be careful!

You can also start calling him something, as well, to set up expectations early. Don’t use any term that feels unnatural to you. Instead, pick something that suits your guy, which also feels natural to you.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

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