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


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

The ex-fiance then turned his SUV around and drove off east on Harvard, according to police. Adam Ferrise,, "Man dead, woman injured after fiance fires several shots, rams car in Cleveland, police say," 3 Apr. 2018 The Nashville actress, 28, sported a bandage on her arm at the airport after her tropical getaway with her fiance, professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko, and their three-year-old daughter Kaya. Mackenzie Schmidt,, "Hayden Panettiere Reportedly Scratched by a Monkey on Barbados Family Vacation," 22 Feb. 2018 In October 2017, months after Celis’ body was found, Clements’ fiance called police again and tipped them off to items of interest that were buried in the couple’s former home. Jacques Billeaud, The Seattle Times, "Sex offender faces court in case of 2 Arizona girls killed," 24 Sep. 2018 He and his fiance, Taylor Mills, are in the throes of planning their November wedding. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Backstage at The ACM Awards With Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion and More," 16 Apr. 2018 Her second son -- 19-inch, 5-pound Oliver James -- soon entered the world in the back of the ambulance en route to the hospital, not far from the home of her and her fiance Brian Westerfield. CBS News, "Mom claims she mistook labor for bad Chinese food," 29 Mar. 2018 Grande, who was spotted inside the chapel with her fiance Pete Davidson, was also snapped taking selfies with Hillary Clinton and embracing the former presidential candidate. Fox News, "Aretha Franklin funeral's bishop mistakes Ariana Grande's name for 'new something at Taco Bell'," 2 Oct. 2018 Today, pop queen Ariana Grande was spotted out shopping in NYC with her fiance Pete Davidson. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande Wears Hot AF $33 Crop Top on a Date with Pete Davidson," 18 July 2018 Birkl, 29, and her fiance decided to skip these wedding traditions to save money., "Engaged? How bucking tradition can help you save big," 22 Apr. 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

10 Mar 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


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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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

Comments on fiancé

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

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