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

Sophie Turner is on vacation with fiance Joe Jonas and his family, including BFF Priyanka Chopra. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Just Clapped Back at Nosy Paparazzi in the Most Brilliant Way," 27 Mar. 2019 The proposal itself was a total surprise; my fiance, Tom, spent four months planning it so that every single micro-detail was customized to reflect us and our relationship. Kaye Toal, SELF, "I'm Fat and I'm Not Going to Lose Weight for My Wedding," 1 Mar. 2019 Prosecutors in December charged Berreth’s fiance, Patrick Frazee, with murder and solicitation of murder in the 29-year-old’s death. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "Idaho woman charged in connection to missing Colorado mom," 5 Feb. 2019 The public will be able to see them on the High Street, Castle Hill and Park Street.s Eugenie, 28, and her 32-year-old fiance, an alcohol brand ambassador. Fox News, "Princess Eugenie's Windsor Castle wedding will differ from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's," 15 Sep. 2018 Following their London engagement, Priyanka Chopra celebrated the news by introducing Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan to her new fiance, Nick Jonas, according to Us Weekly. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry double date with Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra in London, reports say," 28 July 2018 The ex-fiance then turned his SUV around and drove off east on Harvard, according to police. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "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, PEOPLE.com, "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

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

5 May 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

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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

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