fiancé

noun
fi·​an·​cé | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā How to pronounce fiancé (audio) , fē-ˈän-ˌsā\

Definition of fiancé

: a man engaged to be married

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Synonyms for fiancé

Synonyms

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

Erica Leung, 26, poses with her fiance Sze Sze, 28, for pre-wedding pictures in Prague. Los Angeles Times, "Czech Republic sees a surge in visitors from China, including many prenuptial couples," 3 Sep. 2019 Hernandez was survived by fiance Shayanna Jenkins and a daughter, Avielle Janelle. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Aaron Hernandez estate settles wrongful death lawsuit," 26 July 2019 His sister, wanting to ensure her older brother would be able to see her get married, flew up to Alaska with her fiance for an impromptu wedding, Wendy McCool said. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "‘No time to wait’: After unprecedented cancer recovery, Wasilla man plans to make the most of the time he’s been given," 15 July 2019 Walter Quarles was riding in a vehicle with his fiance and another woman past the 1000 block of Suburban Avenue around 8:30 p.m. that evening when Laurence Christopher Wilson started yelling at him from the street. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Dispute over a woman led to fatal shooting of man in St. Paul, charges say," 2 July 2019 Once at the restaurant in his neighborhood with Mary and her fiance, the slippery slope of Bigger’s attachment to his new life in the white world begins. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, ""Native Son" Reflects a World Where Young Black Men Are Often Set Up to Fail," 16 Apr. 2019 Liv's former fiance and on-again, off-again romantic interest, Major (Robert Buckley), has taken over Fillmore Graves and is trying for a less militant, more diplomatic approach to human/zombie relations. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: iZombie sets up strong fifth season, then whiffs the series finale," 5 Aug. 2019 After grabbing drinks on the 96th floor of the former John Hancock Center, Phil Bird, his wife, sister and her fiance got into an elevator with nine other people and headed to the ground floor. Alejandro Serrano, chicagotribune.com, "2 elevators got stuck at Chicago’s former John Hancock Center over a recent weekend: ‘I don’t know what they have to do’," 29 July 2019 Those watching the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game on ESPN on Sunday night were treated to (horrified by) the sight of Jennifer Lopez surprising fiance Alex Rodriguez in the booth with a birthday cake during the telecast. Los Angeles Times, "Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. stays dry in any situation," 29 July 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near fiancé

FIA

fiacre

fiador

fiancé

fiancée

fianchetto

Fianna

Statistics for fiancé

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for fiancé

The first known use of fiancé was in 1838

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More Definitions for fiancé

fiancé

noun
fi·​an·​cé | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā\

Kids Definition of fiancé

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

More from Merriam-Webster on fiancé

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fiancé

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fiancé

Spanish Central: Translation of fiancé

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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