pet used to address somebody

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While I was reading Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took my Dog I came across an interesting way of addressing somebody – the main character, a woman in her fifties, addressed a little girl as ‘pet‘. I’ve heard of ‘love’, of course, and have been called that on numerous occasions, but ‘pet‘ was new to me.

As it usually happens with my newly discovered words, the very next day I went to the Leicester Market to stock up on amazingly cheap fruit and one of the sellers said ‘That’s two pounds, pet’ to me.

I googled this to see if there was anything special about this word and it turned out that it’s mostly used in the north of England (the lady in the book was from Yorkshire). Here’s a very informative piece of friendly and informal terms of address from the BBC.

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4 thoughts on “Pet

  1. Irina says:

    in Lancashire we say “hun” and “cocker”/”cock”

  2. Karine says:

    When I used to live in Nottingham, it took me a while to understand that what sounded like “dawk” or “dawkeh” was actually “duck” or “ducky”. It’s very Midlands. I think that “pet” is short for “petal”. A friend of mine who used to live in Bradford uses “pet” and “hun” too. And after years of hearing “loverr”, “lovely”, “baab” or “babberr” around Bristol, these words still make me laugh 🙂

    • juliatsybysheva says:

      Thanks, Karine! That’s really interesting. I would have never thought ‘pet’ meant something else.
      And what do “baab” or “babberr” mean?
      By the way, I’ll be moving back to Bristol soon – can’t wait!

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