Mijo & Mija – Translations, Meanings & Uses

What does ‘mijo’ mean?

In Mexican Spanish, mijo is a slang word that people use to refer to their sons. It can also be used informally as a synonym for ‘boy’ or an affectionate way of referring to a friend. Mija is its feminine form and is only applied when referring to girls, daughters or young women. 

Both mijo and mija are very popular words in Mexican Spanish. Since you can use them even if you don’t have kids, in the following sections, I’ll explain and show you how to apply these words into your conversations. 

What does ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ mean in Spanish?

In Spanish, ‘mijo’ and its feminine form ‘mija’ are informal words that people use to call their children and other kids. It can also be used as an affectionate way to refer to a friend or your significant other. Depending on the context, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ might have different translations:

  • ‘Mijo’ and ‘mija’ can be translated as ‘son’, ‘daughter’, ‘kid’, ‘honey’ or ‘sweetheart’ when used to call your children.  
  • If used as an informal way to call a kid, young man or young woman, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ can be translated as ‘boy’, ‘girl’ or ‘kid’
  • When used as an affectionate way to call a friend or your partner, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are close in meaning to ‘honey’, ‘sweetheart’, ‘dude’ or ‘pal’. 

As slang terms, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are only used in informal or casual situations. Additionally, these words are popular in Mexican Spanish, but they can also be applied in other Latin American Countries. 

As an informal way to call your kids

In Spanish, mijo is a contraction of ‘mi hijo’ while mija is the short version of ‘mi hija’. As a result, one of the most common uses of these words is as an affectionate and casual way to call your kids in Spanish.

Since their direct translations ‘son’ and ‘daughter’ might sound too formal in English, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are also close in meaning to ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘honey’ or ‘sweetheart’. Keep in mind that, in this context, these words are only used to directly call or name your kids. 

Notice that, depending on the situation, you may need to use its feminine, masculine or plural forms. 

[Mijo / Mija] + [complement]

Quiubo, mijo, ¿cómo te fue en la escuela?
How is it going, son? How was school? 

Mijas, córranle. Nos vamos en 5 minutos. 
Girls, hurry. We’re leaving in 5 minutes.

Feliz cumpleaños, mija, te amo. 
Happy birthday, daughter, I love you. 

A ver, mijitos, aquí se hace lo que yo digo. 
Okay, kids, here you do as I say. 

In this context, you can also use the diminutive form mijito and mijita. These variations are a bit more affectionate, but with the right tone of voice they can also be used to scold your kids. When I was a young girl and I heard mijita, I knew I was in big trouble. 

As an informal synonym of ‘girl’ and ‘boy’

Since they can be translated as ‘kid’ ‘kiddo’, ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, in Spanish, mijo and mija can also be used to call any kid that is not yours. To put it in simple words, these terms can be used when referring to other children in your family or to kids whose names you don’t even know. 

[Mijo / Mija] + [complement]

Oye, mija, ¿estás bien?
Hey, girl, are you okay?

Mijos, díganle a su abue que la comida ya está. 
Kids, go to tell your granny that the food is ready.

De nada, mijo, me voy a esperar hasta que llegue tu mami. 
You’re welcome, kiddo, I’ll wait until your mom arrives.

With this meaning, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are also used as an affectionate way to call a person that is significantly younger than you. In this case, they can be translated as ‘honey’ or ‘dear’. 

Buenos días, mija, ¿qué vas a llevar?
Good morning, dear, what do you need?

Mijito, ¿me puedes ayudar con estas bolsas?
Honey, can you help me with these bags?

As a nickname between friends and couples

Since ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are affectionate terms, Mexican speakers also use these words as nicknames or cute ways to call either their friends or their significant other. So, if referring to your friends, these words are close in meaning to ‘dude, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal

But, as a nickname for couples, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ can be translated as ‘honey’, ‘sweetheart’ or ‘babe’. Just like any other nickname, using these words with their significant other depends on each person’s preference. 

[Mijo / Mija] + [complement]

Oye, mija, ¿cómo sigue tu mamá?
Hey, sweetheart, how is your mom doing?

No, mijo, Carlos se va la semana que viene. 
No, dude, Carlos leaves next week. 

Mijo, ¿a qué hora llegas hoy?
Honey, what time do you arrive today?

How to pronounce ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ in Spanish

In Spanish, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ have a fricative sound due to the ‘j’ pronunciation in Spanish. In other words, the ‘j’ in these terms has a similar pronunciation to the English hard h. So, in this case, ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ are pronounced exactly the same as you would pronounce ‘hold’, ‘home’, ‘ham’ or ‘hard’

Synonyms for ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’

Here are other words that you can use to replace ‘mijo’ and ‘mija’ in different contexts. 

Hijo is the direct translation of ‘son’. As a result, you can use this word instead of ‘mijo’ when calling your son. 

Hija means ‘daughter’. Parents can use this word in more formal contexts as a way to call or refer to their daughters. 

Wey is a Mexican slang word that means ‘dude’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’. So this word can be used to call or refer to your friends. 

Niño is the direct translation of ‘boy’ or ‘kid’. In Spanish, we use this standard term as a way to call, name or refer to a kid that we don’t know. Its feminine form is niña. 

Mi amor is translated as ‘love’, ‘my love’ or ‘honey’ and is a standard term that people can use as an affectionate nickname for their significant other. 

Related Resources
11 Ways to Say Daughter in Spanish
9 Ways to Say Dude in Spanish

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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