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

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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 The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz and Democracy for the Arab World Now or DAWN, the human rights organization that Khashoggi founded shortly before his death. Ashraf Khalil, Star Tribune, "Family of slain Saudi journalist sues Saudi Crown Prince," 20 Oct. 2020 Joseph, 56, has been homeless for nearly six years and lives in an encampment with his pregnant fiancee. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland City Council candidates grapple with surging homelessness," 12 Oct. 2020 Questions started tumbling through his mind, starting with the women two of his sons were married to and his third son’s fiancee. Washington Post, "19 children and counting," 7 Sep. 2020 Mahomes also talks about taking extra measures because his fiancee is pregnant. Ally Mauch, PEOPLE.com, "Patrick Mahomes and Pregnant Fiancée Brittany Matthews Slept in Separate Bedrooms After COVID Scare," 8 Oct. 2020 As his liver was failing and his fiancee was quarantined in their apartment, New York tabloids speculated whether Ebola could be spread by touching a bowling ball, prompting the hashtag #Ebowla. Washington Post, "Six years ago, Trump blasted an Ebola-infected doctor. Now he’s hitting back over the president’s coronavirus actions.," 6 Oct. 2020 Hendrix, a father of two, was set to marry his fiancee next month. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden condemns 'cold-blooded' police shootings," 13 Sep. 2020 Rosenbaum’s fiancee struggled to make sense of it all. Robert Klemko, Washington Post, "A mentally ill man, a heavily armed teenager and the night Kenosha burned," 3 Oct. 2020 Over the summer, Bret Collazzi and his fiancee Di Gao decided to give up the lease on their New York apartment, buy a car and spend the foreseeable future traveling throughout the country while working remotely. Olivia Rockeman, Bloomberg.com, "Free to Work Remotely, Young Americans Are Covid Road Tripping," 1 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fiancée

Time Traveler

The first known use of fiancée was in 1835

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Statistics for fiancée

Last Updated

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fiancée.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fianc%C3%A9e. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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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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