I can see how a man would be called "mon amour."

The term I might use for a woman would be "amoureuse."

But even the Stevie Wonder song refers to "Ma Chérie Amour."

On the other hand, the feminine of chanteur is chanteuse.

What, if anything, is the difference between "amour" and "amoureuse" as it relates to a woman?

  • 7
    It's not an answer, but you'll be interested to know that while amour is masculine, the plural amours is feminine. Exercise: there are other such words in French, find them.
    – Joubarc
    Aug 26, 2011 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Joubarc Wikipédia is quite extensive on this subject.
    – Evpok
    Aug 26, 2011 at 20:56
  • @Evpok well, duh.
    – Joubarc
    Aug 27, 2011 at 6:38
  • 2
    By the way, "Ma Chérie Amour" is the title of a song. This is not an expression that is used by French-speaking people. I know I don't and never heard anyone use it.
    – zejam
    Aug 27, 2011 at 7:20
  • @Joubarc Vois ça comme la correction ;)
    – Evpok
    Aug 27, 2011 at 9:36

7 Answers 7


A man will call his wife mon amour as well. It's the same as if they call one another my love. The word doesn't become feminine because you apply it to a woman. Both would say:

Mon amour, tu as pensé à acheter du pain ?

They would only call the other one amoureux or amoureuse when talking of him/her to someone else, like in:

Paul, je te présente mon amoureuse, Marie.


Paul, je te présente mon amoureux, Jean.

  • 5
    Even if "amour" became feminine when you used it as a pet name for a woman, it would still be "mon amour" because of the liaison. So, effectively, there would never be a difference.
    – hairboat
    Aug 27, 2011 at 21:42
  • Strangely, "amour" becomes also feminine when it gets smaller : we say "un grand amour" but "une amourette".
    – glmxndr
    Aug 28, 2011 at 5:55
  • @AbbyT.Miller It would always be “mon bel amour”, even if the loved one is a woman. *“ma belle amour” is not correct. Conversely, the feminine for “mon bel amoureux” is “ma belle amoureuse”.
    – Édouard
    Jul 27, 2014 at 1:25
  • When my wife asks me if I thought about buying bread, she tends not to add mon amour, especially when she is pretty sure I forgot to do so.
    – MrUpsidown
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:00

« Mon amour » c'est l'être aimé (quel que soit son sexe, quel que soit celui de qui s'exprime). « Mon amoureux », « mon amoureuse », c'est celui ou celle qui éprouve de l'amour pour moi et le manifeste (il ne va pas être utilisé dans le cas d'un amour inavoué publiquement).

Aucun des deux termes n'implique la réciprocité des sentiments : « elle n'arrive pas à se débarrasser d'un amoureux qui la poursuit de ses assiduités » peut-on dire de quelqu'un qui lui affirmerait : « elle est l'amour de ma vie et je n'arrive pas à l'oublier bien qu'elle en aime un autre. »

« Mon amour » is the loved one. « Mon amoureux », « mon amoureuse » is the one who loves and express it. For neither term, reciprocity is implied.


Amour is the word for the abstract love concept, but can also be used in the singular form to mean a beloved person (mon amour) of either gender. It is then a masculine noun.

Note that amour is a very peculiar noun in the French language. In the singular form it is masculine, and in the plural form it is feminine.

Un bel amour


Des amours douloureuses


EDIT: I won't delete my answer because of @Gilles' comment below.

Instead of "mon amour" you should use "mon Amour" (l'Amour avec un grand A).

In this case "Amour" represent Cupid (or an angel), so basically "mon Amour" is somewhere between "my angel" and "my love" but is a proper noun. So there is no feminine for "Amour".

When you say "mon amoureux/amoureuse" it's "the person I'm in love with".

  • 8
    There is no reason to use a capital letter here. This is a perfectly normal use of the common noun. See e.g. TLF sense IV.D.1.a. Aug 27, 2011 at 0:01

You can use many common nouns as pet names. In that case, you'll naturally use them with determinants corresponding to the grammatical gender of that noun, regardless of the sex of your beloved interlocutor. Among the classical pet names, quite a few are regularly used for both men and women : amour (m. at least in the singular, love), ange (m, angel), bébé (m., baby), cœur (m, heart), trésor (m., treasure)...

As I write this list, I realise that I do not know of a feminine pet name often used for men...

Of course, less classical pet names exist and can borrow from every grammatical category and every language. (Well, maybe not every grammatical category: I've never heard « quatorze » or « duquel » used as pet names, as lovely as that would be...)

A literary reference is inevitable.

  • I do not know of a feminine pet name often used for men : I suspect most pet names must first pass the be of the form « mon <something> » test (to be similar to « mon amour ») in order to become pet names, hence you don't won't find any (all the ones on the top of my head either are masculine or have a masculine form) Oct 17, 2012 at 7:27

Surely this is a question of euphony not gender. 'Mon' is used merely to avoid the unpleasant conjunction of two sounding vowels: mA Amour. In 'La grande amour' the redundant 'e' is absorbed by the subsequent 'a' (even though the 'e' is slightly sounded in 'grande' at the end of a sentence or if followed by a consonant... )


"mon" refers to the first person (adjectif possessif) of the singular. Amour is masculine word. Thus each person of the couple refers to the other as "mon amour".

If the noun has been feminine, each would have said "ma" like in "ma bicyclette" (my bicycle).

Edit: (see comments)

The "adjectif possessif" does not depend of the gender of the possessor but the gender and number of the object. Effectively there is an exception, when the next word begins with a vowel.


"Ma bicyclette(f)", "Ma table(f)", "Mon animation(f)", "Mon échelle(f)"

"Mon poulet(m)", "Mon chien(m)", "Mon écureil(m)"

In your examples : amour is masculine so "mon amour" and "chérie" is feminine so "ma chérie d'amour" (Don't forget the d'!!!)

  • 2
    Par exemple: Dis, ma petite bicyclette, tu as pensé à sortir les poubelles ?
    – Joubarc
    Aug 27, 2011 at 6:40
  • 1
    Actually, no. If "amour" were feminine, it would still be "mon amour".
    – Phira
    Aug 27, 2011 at 7:31
  • In french the "déterminant possessifs" does not depend of the gender of the possessor but the genre and number of the object. Effectively there is an exception, when the next word begins with a vowel. "Ma bicyclette", "Ma table", "Mon animation", "Mon échelle".
    – M'vy
    Aug 27, 2011 at 15:17
  • @Joubarc : Mon père appelait bien ma mère « mon boudin... »
    – JPP
    Sep 7, 2011 at 21:34
  • @JPP Comment on dit awkward en français... ? ;-) Jul 9, 2012 at 8:35

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