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Profile: Appelsap
User Name: Appelsap
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Last Visit: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:08:47 AM
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Topic: "Darling" - Dutch term of endearment
Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:08:46 AM
The context here seems quite relevant.
The word 'Meisje' is derived from 'meid' (=maiden/maid), which in turn comes from 'maagd' (=virgin). It was commonly used to refer to young girls, and as a referral to daughters (in the same way the word 'girl' can be used to tell you have a daughter: I have two boys and a girl).
The word 'liefje' is derived from 'lief' (=love) and was certainly then more associated with a lover/partner.
'Lieverd' is used to address someone kindly as a loving, caring person, and would certainly be appropriate for a father to say to his daughter, but when addressing a stranger gets a different connotation.

I suppose both 'meisje' and 'lieverd' can be appropriate, depending on the message it is you want to convey. The first (meisje) will accentuate there is a distance (as in father-daughter like distance). The last (lieverd) will be more affectionate, as you would lovingly address your daughter. Whether or not it would have been appropriate to address non-family like that in 1702 I cannot say.

You were looking for affectionate, so 'lieverd' would seem the better choice. Whether or not a 60 year old saying 'lieverd' (very equal to 'darling') to a 20 year old is 'creepy' as you put it (in 1702!) is something for you to judge - that really depends on how well they know each other. :)