fiancée

noun
fi·​an·​cée | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā, fē-ˈän-ˌsā\

Definition of fiancée

: a woman engaged to be married

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Synonyms for fiancée

Synonyms

betrothed, fiancé, 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 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 Web

Zimmerman had confronted Martin, who was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancee after making a purchase at a convenience store. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Bail, conditions set for man charged in fatal shooting," 14 Aug. 2018 Williams portrays a likably cheesy ex-fiancee, who is given leeway to be equal parts supportive, skeptical, and badass while dealing with her split-personality ex. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Venom film review: Stupid, but still good enough to bite your head off," 5 Oct. 2018 Nash's former fiancee Serena English, who had a child with McNeil, was implicated in the crime and is now serving a life sentence. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Former Alabama doctor convicted in murder-for-hire hit by car, killed in Arizona," 2 Feb. 2018 The three Army buddies spent the evening of the 1992 slaying at a wedding rehearsal dinner for Jones and his fiancee, who planned to marry the next day. BostonGlobe.com, "Ex-soldiers won’t be retried in 1992 Ga. killing," 13 July 2018 The three Army buddies spent the evening of the 1992 slaying at a wedding rehearsal dinner for Jones and his fiancee, who planned to marry the next day. Washington Post, "‘Completely free’: No retrial of ex-soldiers in 1992 killing," 12 July 2018 Elisabeth Claus, Soltis' fiancee, posted Facebook updates on the search Wednesday. CBS News, "Bear that killed hiker likely mauled volunteer looking for him, Alaska police say," 21 June 2018 His fiancee, Helen, had met another man and married. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Family soldiers on in battle never fully lost or won," 4 June 2018 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle open the new annual Royal Foundation Forum together. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince William's trip to Israel, West Bank is history in the making: All the details," 24 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of fiancée

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fiancée

French, feminine of fiancé — see fiancé

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Dictionary Entries near fiancée

fiacre

fiador

fiancé

fiancée

fianchetto

Fianna

fiants

Statistics for fiancée

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for fiancée

The first known use of fiancée was in 1835

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More Definitions for fiancée

fiancée

noun
fi·​an·​cée | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā\

Kids Definition of fiancée

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on fiancée

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fiancée

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fiancée

Spanish Central: Translation of fiancée

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