If as a man I got emails from a woman with: "Thank you, lovely!" and "Good morning, lovely!" what would the connotation of the addressing word 'lovely' be in English ?

Is this word in English common between good friends, even between straight friends of the same sexes or is it the word reserved only to be used for somebody who may be closer than a friend, e.g. a member of a family, a partner?


In the first case she could mean "thank you that would be lovely" if you'd offered to do something for her. It would be ambiguous so you shouldn't read too much into it.

Otherwise, English is very variable. In many areas of Britain, terms of endearment are used towards complete strangers, which would sound very strange out of context. To further confuse the issue, not only does the use vary with place, but it's changing with time as well.

Then you have to consider other national varieties of English. I have seen "dearest" used in Indian English in cases that seem strange to British people, for example.

So to get to the bottom of this, you'd need to consider not just her language, not just her country, but the region of her country.

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    This is all true, but I'd venture that, no matter what the region, most would find lovely to be a rather odd pet name, particularly among platonic friends. I suppose it could be used playfully, but it would strike me as peculiar nonetheless. – J.R. Dec 12 '15 at 10:38
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    @J.R. In parts of SW England, "my lover" is used between strangers so I wouldn't rule it out. From a little reading "my lovely" may be used this way in Devon (discussion of whether this is appropriate in care homes). A blog post from a company teaching English gives some examples (not including the OP's). The 3rd para discusses in general when such terms may be used – Chris H Dec 12 '15 at 11:36
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    Excellent links, and excellent reading. I especially appreciate that bit about Devon. Of course I'd heard "love" used in this way, but "lovely" struck me as odd. Good to see your bit about regionalisms is spot on, but I'll still resist the urge to call you "my lovely" in this comment :-) – J.R. Dec 12 '15 at 11:45
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    @J.R. Its not that uncommon an expression mobile.twitter.com/search?q=%22Thanks%20lovely%22&s=typd – Martin Smith Dec 12 '15 at 12:27
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    @J.R.: What Martin said. It's not (yet?) uncommon in the UK. Per OED definition B2 colloq. (orig. and chiefly Brit.). As a familiar or affectionate form of address: dear, sweetheart, love. Chiefly in my lovely. It's not really geographically dialectal - you hear it from, for example, barmaids all around the country. – FumbleFingers Dec 12 '15 at 13:56

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