1

affiance

noun af·fi·ance \ ə-ˈfī-ən(t)s \
Updated on: 30 Nov 2017

Definition of affiance

archaic

Promises, Promises: the History of affidavit, affiance, & fiancé

Affidavit refers to a written promise, and its Latin roots connect it to another kind of promise in English. It comes from a past tense form of the Latin verb affidare, meaning “to pledge”; in Latin, affidavit translates to “he or she has made a pledge.”

Affidare is also the root of affiance, an archaic English noun meaning “trust, faith, confidence,” “marriage contract or promise,” or a meaning that has completely fallen from use, “close or intimate relationship.” More familiar to modern English speakers is the verb affiance, meaning “to promise in marriage” or “to betroth.” It usually appears as a fancy-sounding participial adjective:

I like to give affianced friends a copy of Rebecca Mead’s book “One Perfect Day,” which exposes the ridiculous wedding industry.
—Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist, 7 October 2014

Affiance came through French to English in the 14th century, and, nearly 500 years later, the related French words fiancé and fiancée were added to English. Etymologically speaking, a fiancé or fiancée is a “promised one.”

Origin and Etymology of affiance

Middle English affiaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French affiance, afiance, from affier, afier "to pledge faith (to), pledge oneself to marry, trust" (going back to Medieval Latin affīdāre, from Latin ad- ad- + Vulgar Latin *fīdāre "to trust") + -ance -ance — more at fiancé


2

affiance

verb

Definition of affiance

affianced; affiancing
transitive verb
: to solemnly promise (oneself or another) in marriage : betroth

Recent Examples of affiance from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affiance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of affiance

borrowed from Anglo-French affiancer, afiancer, verbal derivative of afiance 1affiance


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