What Does ‘My Dear’ Mean Exactly – With 9 Examples

The meaning of my dear is an old-fashioned term of endearment. It means near to one’s heart, and is used for family, close friends, and your sweetheart. You say it to make the other person feel cared for, special, and loved. An example is a grandma to her granddaughter, or couples married for a long time.

The term “my dear” holds different meanings for different situations. It depends on demographic, context, tone of voice, and the relationship of the people involved.

When someone calls you my dear, it can mean different things. Here are all the possible meanings of “my dear.”

My Dear Meaning

My dear used to be pretty common 50 years ago, nowadays, not so much. 

1. When Someone Really Likes You

When used as a term of endearment, my dear is usually said to loved ones you are close with, who you hold great affection for.

2. When Someone is Being Polite

My dear is an old fashioned term, sometimes used to show kindness and respect to strangers or acquaintances.

This is an often seen in the Southern United States where manners are usually passed down from one’s grandparents. These people are generally all-around caring.

3. When Someone is Being Condescending

My dear meaning - Connection Copilot 4

Sometimes “my dear” is used to show superiority to someone younger or below their status. For example, a boss to their assistant. It is not professional to use “my dear” and comes off as sarcastic and rude. 

The tone of voice and facial expression makes it clear that the person is speaking in a belittling way.

4. It Is a Term This Person Calls Everyone

I used to know a guy who called everyone “my dear.” I believe it was a habit and there was no meaning at all behind it.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: What Does It Mean When a Girl Calls You Hun (15 Meanings)

5. When Someone Forgets Your Name

Many times when we forget someone’s name we use a general nickname, like buddy, sweetie, honey, or my dear.

6. It Is a Term That Shows Familiarity

Sometimes “my dear” is used as an additive to show a little sweetness to someone we have a relationship with. In this case it is not romantic, more familiar and friendly.

My dear meaning - Connection Copilot

7. It Is a Term Used as a Pet Name

When in a loving relationship, sometimes we give pet names as a show of our affection. My dear is comparable to honey, baby, and sweetheart.

8. It Is a Formal Way To Address Someone in a Letter

This is the standard greeting for written letters.

Dear Reader,

I am very happy to have you here and hope you enjoy this article.

9. It Is a Term Used When Merely Complying

If a man says to his wife or girlfriend, “yes dear,” it means he is agreeing with what she said, or perhaps just obeying.

What Is Dear

Dear is used to express feelings of tenderness and deep affection, when you regard someone in a loving way.

My dear meaning - Connection Copilot 2

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: What Does It Mean When a Guy Calls You B? (10 Meanings)

My Dear Meaning from a Guy

When a guy calls you dear it means he feels a special connection with you. It is a term of endearment, a sign of love, politeness, and sweetness. When he calls you dear he is showing his affection. Indirectly, he is saying that he cares about you and that you are safe and secure while with him. 

When a Guy Calls You Dear over Text

When a guy calls you my dear over text it means he feels very comfortable with you and is trying to be sweet. It is a small gesture to show you that he cares about and values you. He feels a connection and, depending on your relationship, he may mean it in a friendly way or a romantic way.

Dear to My Heart Meaning

Dear to my heart means that something or someone is very personally and emotionally important. It is a very special complement and shows one’s highest regard.

My dear meaning - Connection Copilot 1

My Dear Definition

The definition of ‘my dear’ is a term of endearment you might give to a beloved person you love or like a lot, as a show of your affection.

My Dear Friend Meaning

My dear friend, or dear friend, pertains to a friend who is important to you. You consider this person more than just a friend and feel a special closeness.

How to Respond When Someone Calls You Dear

The best way to respond when someone calls you dear is to smile and either say nothing or respond with one of the following replies.

  • “Thanks honey.”
  • “That’s very sweet of you.”
  • “Aw, thank you.”
  • “Thanks very much darling.”
  • “Thank you sweetie.”
My dear meaning - Connection Copilot 2

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: When a Guy Calls You Babygirl: 15 Meanings

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Calling Someone Dear Flirting

Calling someone dear is not flirting. It is not a term like ‘sexy’ or ‘baby.’ ‘Dear’ is a sweet, polite, and loving term of endearment you might say to someone you have a special connection with. It could also be used in a condescending way when you are frustrated with someone.

Is Dear a Love Word?

Dear is not necessarily a love word, yet many times it is. Take a look at the context of how it is said and the relationship you have with the person saying it to decide.

What Does Dear Mean In a Relationship?

In a relationship, dear is either a sign of affection and love, or a sign of compliance.

Who Can I Call My Dear?

You can call anyone “my dear” who you like a lot, love, or adore.

More Info: Washington Post Meaning of Dear


My dear is an old term usually used as a show of love, sweetness and respect. It can also have other meanings.

Closely examine the person who says it and your relationship with them to decide when he calls me dear, what it means.

Matt Furman
Matt Furman

Hi, I’m Matt, the proud owner of Connection Copilot. I live in NYC and I’m passionate about all things dating. With a bachelor's degree in psychology, a professional coaching certification, and over 20 years of experience as a top tier dating coach, I've had the privilege of guiding and empowering thousands of individuals on their journey to meaningful connections.

I was born in New York and have never left. Having immersed myself in the fast-paced dating scene of New York City, learning as I go, I have gained much wisdom through experience. Consider me your trusted companion in your quest for love.