fi·​an·​cé | \ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā, fē-ˈän-ˌsā\

Definition of fiancé 

: a man engaged to be married

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Synonyms for fiancé


betrothed, fiancée, intended

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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.”

Fiancé or fiancée?

People may well be anxious, when referring to their betrothed, to make sure that they use the correct term. So the fact that fiancé and fiancée are pronounced exactly the same may cause some degree of worry and uncertainty. These two words are borrowed directly from French, in which language they have equivalent but gendered meanings: fiancé refers to a man who is engaged to be married, and fiancée refers to a woman. We have, as of this date, no evidence suggesting that the meaning of either word is affected by the gender of the person to whom the fiancé or fiancée is engaged.

Examples of fiancé in a Sentence

Let me introduce my fiancé. couldn't wait to show off her fiancé to all of her relatives

Recent Examples on the Web

Smith’s fiance, Dewayne Poling, and Laing had played on the same men’s slow-pitch softball tournament team. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Capital Gazette staffer Rebecca Smith remembered by family, friends as 'beautiful soul'," 9 July 2018 Barbara is survived by her husband and children, and Joan's husband, Daniel Roy, Andrew's fiance, Holly MacMillan, and 11 grandchildren., "Barbara Ann Vigneau," 7 July 2018 According to his Linked In profile, her fiance is a software engineer. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "WSVN-Ch. 7 anchor Belkys Nerey is engaged. Who's the lucky guy?," 30 May 2018 Hill, whose fiance is also an IUPUI graduate, mentors youth basketball players. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "George Hill on IUPUI graduation: 'It’s not about how long it took me, it’s about finishing the job'," 12 May 2018 Griffin and Beatty, her fiance, were baby sitting Cole and his then-7-year-old sister while the children’s mother worked at a McDonald’s where Beatty was the manager, the affidavit states. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Crown Point couple charged in death of boy, 4, who found gun in baby sitters' home," 12 June 2018 My fiance’s parents are having a harder time with it. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Parents disapprove of couple’s nontraditional wedding," 5 June 2018 Clermont City Council member Diane Travis will join other bicylists again Wednesday night to take part in a solemn ride to honor cyclists killed or injured on area roads, including her fiance and fellow triathlete, Harry Nickell. Jerry Fallstrom,, "Ride of Silence in Clermont pays tribute to bicyclists killed or injured on the roads," 16 May 2018 The songstress took to Instagram Thursday (June 28) to post an adorable video of herself dancing with friends, including her fiance. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson Show Off Their Dance Skills in Cute New Video," 28 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of fiancé

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fiancé

French, from Middle French, from past participle of fiancer to promise, betroth, from Old French fiancier, from fiance promise, trust, from fier to trust, from Vulgar Latin *fidare, alteration of Latin fidere — more at bide

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Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for fiancé

The first known use of fiancé was in 1838

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fi·​an·​cé | \ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā\

Kids Definition of fiancé

: a man that a woman is engaged to be married to

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What made you want to look up fiancé? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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