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 fiancée in a Sentence
My fiancée and I will be married in June.
his fiancée is insisting on an elaborate wedding
Recent Examples on the WebHaskell is also leaving to be closer to his fiancee, Katie Cion, a recent Harvard Law School graduate and civil rights attorney who will be moving to New York City.
Christopher Keating, courant.com, 3 Jan. 2022 His fiancee Alexus Leggett, sporting a University of Alabama T-shirt, gave him a challenging smile.
Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, 31 Dec. 2021 His new fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 His new fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Dana Priest, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Dec. 2021 Affleck has since reconnected with his ex-fiancee, Jennifer Lopez.
Brendan Morrow, The Week, 15 Dec. 2021 Adrian Escobedo signed up to drive for Uber Eats to help support his family after his fiancee lost her job.
Suhauna Hussain Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Dec. 2021 Marlene Kern Fischer of Armonk, New York, said her son and his fiancee had planned a wedding for 220 to be held at a hotel in July 2020.
Stewart Ain, sun-sentinel.com, 2 Dec. 2021 Meanwhile, the groom-to-be panicked, thinking his fiancee had cold feet.
Francesca Street, CNN, 18 Nov. 2021
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fiancée.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.