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

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 Lauren Stewart, a 2018 Colts cheerleading hopeful, lost her fiance Byran Clauson, a race car driver who died in a Kansas crash in 2016. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Colts cheerleader auditionee finds strength after loss of fiancé Bryan Clauson," 15 Apr. 2018 At the opposite end of the concrete ledge along Saganashkee Slough, Sergio Solis, his fiance Leticia Lopez and her mother Lucretia Lopez, posed for photos in front of the setting sun. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "People gather at waterfronts to watch the sun set on the Southland," 11 July 2018 Recently, fans have noticed that Grande has the same numbers tattooed on her left ankle as a way to pay tribute to her fiance's father. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "Every Tattoo Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Have Reportedly Gotten During Their Relationship," 8 July 2018 Smith was engaged and loved her fiance's daughter, the obituary said. Elizabeth Chuck /, NBC News, "Capital Gazette shooting victims remembered as passionate employees, dedicated family members," 29 June 2018 More than two dozen friends and family members of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson packed a Daley Center courtroom Thursday as the seven-month legal battle between Hudson and her ex-fiance over custody of their 8-year-old son continued. Tracy Swartz,, "Hearing in Jennifer Hudson case turns into family reunion," 28 June 2018 In the afternoon, Samantha Malohn's father Michael Mills recounted his wait for his daughter, her fiance and their children. Jennie Key,, "Witness of Pollitt family crash: 'They pulled the boy from the car, and my heart dropped'," 20 June 2018 The event will raise money for Deputy James Dunton Jr., whose daughter Jasmine Kennedy was fatally shot by her fiance May 1 at her Parkville home, police say. Jessica Anderson,, "'Baby shower' fundraiser set for Baltimore sheriff's deputy raising four grandkids after their mother's death," 11 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

22 Sep 2018

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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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