The Meaning of Mijo: What It Is and How To Use It

This article will give you all of the knowledge you desire on the Spanish word mijo, including its translation and definition, usage, origin, synonyms, and more!

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What does the Spanish word mijo mean?

According to Dictionary, mijo is a Spanish word that is a colloquial way of referring to a friend or child. It is considered a term of endearment. In English, this word roughly translates to “dear,” “darling” or “buddy” according to Spanish Dict. This is a combination of the words “mi” and “hijo.” “Mi” translates to “my” and “hijo” translates to “son.” Therefore, the exact translation of “mijo” is “my son,” or “mi hijo.” This word is used exclusively to refer to men and boys. In English, a mother or father might call their son “buddy” or “chief” in the same way a Mexican or other Latin American mother or father might call their son “mijo” if they are a native speaker of Spanish.

Spanish is a language that has both masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives, which is why the word mijo is used exclusively to refer to men and boys. To refer to a woman or girl with the same term of endearment, one would use the word “mija.” This is a combination of the words “mi” and “hija”. “Mi” translates to “my,” and “hija” translates to “daughter.” From the phrase “mi hija,” “mija” was formed by removing the silent h from hija and combining the doubled letter i. Both of these words are used both among family and elders, as well as close friends. However, some women may find the term mija belittling if it comes from a male peer, almost like they are being called “little girl” or “missy” in English, per Dictionary. The suffix -ijo forms the masculine form, while -ija forms the feminine.

One common variation of the words mijo and mija are mijito and mijita. The suffixes ito and ita form diminutives in Spanish and can be added into the ends of words to indicate smallness as well as affection, according to Spanish Dict. In this case, the direct translation would be either “my little son” or “my little daughter.” These would be used as terms of endearment, particularly from an older person or family members to younger members of the family. Imagine an auntie pinching her niece or nephew’s cheeks, saying “Mijo, que lindo!” or “My little one, how cute!”

According to Spanish Dict, the word mijo can also mean “millet” in botany, though this is far less common. This is a type of plant or planta, a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family. It is widely consumed in countries like Africa and Asia, and is shaped like a small, round whole grain. It is appropriate for human consumption, as well as livestock and bird seed according to Healthline.

What are synonyms for the word mijo?

There are many different terms of endearment that Mexican, Chilean, Brazilian, and other Latin American people can call their friends or loved ones. Below is a list of numerous words and terms of endearment that can refer to a child, from Spanish Dict.

  • El niño (m), la niña (f)
  • El chico (m), la chica (f)
  • El muchacho (m), la muchacha (f)
  • El escuincle (m), la escuincla (f) – México 
  • El guagua (m), la guagua (g) – Ecuador
  • El chaval (m), la chavala (f) – Spain
  • El pibe (m), la pibe (f) – Bolivia, Argentina
  • El chamo (m), la chama (f) – Venezuela
  • El nene (m), la nena (f) – Latin America
  • El chamaco (m), la chamaca (f)

Fluent in 3 Months also lists many different terms of endearment that native Spanish speakers can use to refer to one another. Some of these are used specifically from an older person to a younger person or vice versa, but some are more general and can be used in multiple different contexts.

  • Cariño/Cariña – “Darling”
  • Bebé – “Baby”
  • Cielo – “Sky”
  • Dulzura – “Sweetheart”
  • Amor – “Love”
  • Corazón – “Heart”
  • Vato – “Guy”
  • Gordito/Gordita – “Little fat”

Portuguese also has numerous other, or otro/otra similar terms of endearment.

  • Amigão – “Big Friend”
  • Alemão/Polaco/Negão – These are terms of endearment that refer to friends by their skin tone in Brazil. This may seem strange to a native English-speaker. The first two refer to light skinned people, while the last one refers to someone who is dark-skinned. These are generally considered inoffensive.

How can the word mijo be used in a sentence?

Mijo can be used to refer to someone younger than oneself, like a mother to a son or an uncle to a nephew, but it can also be used between friends like th English term “buddy.” In the below example, a mother, Elena, uses it to refer to her young son Junio.

Junio: Gracias por los tacos, mamá.

(English: Junio: Thanks for the tacos, mom.)

Elena: Por supuesto, mijo. La cena perfecta después del primer día de escuela.

(English: Of course, mijo. The perfect dinner after the first day of school.)

Junio: Qué pena que haya un segundo día…

(English: Too bad there’s a second day …)

Overall, the word mijo is a Spanish word that means “my son.” While this is the direct translation, it is used as a term of endearment and can either be used from an older person to a younger person to mean “dear” or “sweetie,” or from one friend to another to mean “buddy.” This is exclusively used for men and boys. To refer to a woman or girl in the same way, one would use the feminine form “mija.”