French may be known as the language of love but we reckon Irish could give it a run for its money. Just like any other language, Irish has some unique and beautiful ways to refer to the one you love and some magically affectionate ways to speak about those closest to your heart. 

Exact translations of English terms of endearment into Irish are not always possible, however, as Irish endearments are unique in themselves but as we come close to St. Valentine's Day, we thought that some of the best deserve a mention.

Here are IrishCentral's top Irish terms of endearment and a guide on how to pronounce them:

1. “A chara” (uh KHAR-uh): Means “Friend.” This form of address can be used in everything from formal letter salutations to greeting cards. It is used to address both men and women.

2. “A stór” (uh stohr): Literally means “my treasure.” Can be used in an affectionate friendship or as a term of endearment to a child.

3. “A ghrá” (uh GHRAH): Meaning “Love.” A more romantic endearment.

4. “A chroí” (uh KHREE): Meaning “Heart”

5. “A mhuirnín” (uh WUR-neen): Meaning “Darling”

6. “A chuisle” (uh KHUSH-leh): Meaning “Pulse”

7. “A leanbh” (uh LAN-uv): Literally means “my child.” Affectionate term of endearment.

8. “A rúnsearc” (uh ROON-shark): Literally means “secret love” — a very passionate way of saying “beloved.”

9. “Mo shíorghrá” (muh HEER-ggrah): Meaning “My Eternal Love” is a more modern translation of the concept of soul mates.

10. “M’fhíorghrá” (MEER-ggrah): meaning “My True Love” — yet another translation of the modern soul mate concept.

11. "Is ceol mo chroí thú" (Is cyoal mu khree who): Meaning "you're the music of my heart". We think that says it all!

When you consider that none of these terms of endearment relate anyone to vegetables or eggs, perhaps the Irish got off lightly. A more bizarre form of address might be calling someone a “Chou” (cabbage), the French equivalent of “sweetheart”, or “Tamago gata no kao” (Egg with eyes) which is apparently a great compliment for a woman in Japan. Last but not least “ma puce” (my flea) which is roughly the equivalent to “sweetie” in English.

Sources: Bitesize Irish Gaelic, BBC

* Originally published in 2013. 

My heart, my treasure, my love - Irish terms of affection for Valentine's Day.iStock