Often used alone as an endearment, though ‘you poor sweetie’ occurs in Rabbit is Rich, by John Updike, addressed by one woman to another.
   The term is not always appreciated by those to whom it is addressed. ‘Don’t worry about it, sweetie,’ says a man to a young woman, in The Stork, by Denison Hatch. ‘Don’t you call me “sweetie” again, you son of a bitch,’ is the reply. During the same conversation the man also uses ‘toots’ to the woman - another term to which the hearer is likely to object.
   In Thanksgiving, by Robert Jordan, occurs: ‘“Do you want a drink, sweety?” Mrs Channing asked. “Don’t call me sweety,” Eric snapped. “I’m sorry, dear boy.” “I’m not your boy, either,” Eric said.’ Peter Collier and David Horowitz, in The Kennedys, tell us: ‘with Jack it was airline stewardesses and secretaries. They appeared almost nightly at the Georgetown house, in such numbers that Jack often didn’t bother to learn their names, calling them “sweetie” or “kiddo” the next morning.’ It is significant that at least two novelists link the use of ‘sweetie’ with homosexual speakers. Homosexual men use the term to women friends in The Exhibitionist, by Henry Sutton and The Middle Cround, by Margaret Drabble.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • sweetie — ☆ sweetie [swēt′ē ] n. Informal SWEETHEART: also sweetie pie …   English World dictionary

  • sweetie — 1721, “lollipop;” 1778, “lover, sweetheart,” from SWEET (Cf. sweet) + Y (Cf. y) (3) …   Etymology dictionary

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