Pumpkin used as a pet name for your kids?


Am I imagining things or do native speakers use the word pumpkin as a pet name for their kids? I think I heard parents call their kids pumpkin.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A private airplane[YSaerTTEW443543]

No, you’re not imagining things, Torsten. :lol:
Not all native speakers would use pumpkin as a pet name, but it’s not unusual.

Hi Amy,

Thanks a lot for your quick response. Could you please tell me more pet names for kids? Also, why is a pet name called a pet name? I mean, as I understand it, a pet’s name is the name of a pet while a pet name is a name for a person. How do you distinguish between both?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: In the country[YSaerTTEW443543]

A /'pet neim/ is the name of a pet; a /pet 'neim/ is the name of a person.

Hi Torsten

The adjective pet has a few standard meanings, so it’s also a matter of context and knowing how the word is used. These are the definitions for the adjective pet from Dictionary.com:

  1. kept or treated as a pet: a pet lamb.
  2. especially cherished or indulged, as a child or other person.
  3. favorite; most preferred: a pet theory.
  4. showing fondness or affection: to address someone with pet words.

There are lots of pet names/terms of endearment that parents might use for their kids, ranging from commonly used to unique. :lol:
I’ve heard lots of parents use the words “Sweetpea”, “Peanut” and “Monkey”. A father might call his young daughter “Princess”, for example…

I always thought this pet name was different from the word pumpkin. The pet name is pronounced [pʌŋkɪn], and the vegetable is called a [pʌmpkɪn] or a [pʌmkɪn]. Some kids have to be taught how to say “pumpkin” when they get to school, because they’ve been called [pʌŋkɪn] so much. Where I live, anyway, the pet name is pronounced differently from the vegetable name, and I always thought they were two different words.

That’s a good point, Jamie. The pronunciation of the pet name is usually different from the thing we tend to see lots of around Halloween. Nevertheless, I’d always understood the two to be the same word. :smiley:

This, and a multiple dictionary search, indicate that I have to revise my belief that there are two words, “punkin” meaning an imp, sprite, gremlin, etc., and “pumpkin” indicating a vegetable.

I think the popular nickname is punchkin, not pumpkin

I’ve never heard “punchkin”. I’ve heard “munchkin” for the dwarfs in the Wizard of Oz. I’ve heard Dr. Laura on the radio use a word like “boonchkin”, but I thought that was peculiar to her.

Maybe popular is stretching it, but I’ve heard of punchkin as nicknames before, but then I’ve heard of pumpkin also. Munchkin is definitely more popular…