fiancée

noun
fi·​an·​cée | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā How to pronounce fiancée (audio) , 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

In 2014, Baltimore running back Ray Rice was captured on video punching and knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Tom Withers, The Seattle Times, "Browns give troubled running back Kareem Hunt second chance," 12 Feb. 2019 Everyone saw the video of former NFL star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, now his wife. Washington Post, "Like Trump, many people refuse to believe domestic violence victims. That has to stop.," 12 Feb. 2018 Idris Elba went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about his proposal to fiancee Sabrina Dhowre and his upcoming performance at Coachella this year. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "No Big Deal, But Idris Elba DJed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Wedding," 27 Feb. 2019 Rice that year received a two-game suspension after being charged with aggravated assault for striking his then-fiancee. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "New NFL Attack Video Raises Doubts About League’s Investigations," 2 Dec. 2018 The man camped outside London's Reprezent Radio FM station where the Prince and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, were scheduled to appear. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Local DJ Makes Move to (Hopefully) Spin at Prince Harry's Wedding: Watch," 10 Jan. 2018 But when Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, made a visit to Brixton this year, Carter bought a bouquet and weathered a chilly afternoon waiting for a glimpse of the couple. Karla Adam, chicagotribune.com, "How Meghan Markle's race could modernize the British monarchy: 'We need a bit of color in the royal family'," 10 May 2018 Prince Harry and his fiancee, American actress Meghan Markle, did not attend. Fox News, "Queen Elizabeth II, royal family attend Easter service," 1 Apr. 2018 During the investigation into Shabani's disappearance, Hayes said Spotz and his fiancee drove from Los Angeles to her parents' home in Fort Morgan, Colorado, just outside of Denver. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Adea Shabani case: Dead boyfriend suspected in aspiring model's killing, cops say," 28 Mar. 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

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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