fiancée

noun

fi·​an·​cée ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā How to pronounce fiancée (audio)
fē-ˈän-ˌsā
: a woman engaged to be married

Did you know?

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.”

Did you know?

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 But fiancee and teammate Alyssa Thomas said Bonner has always craved the opportunity for uninterrupted quality time with her daughters, and the time was finally right in 2023-24. Emily Adams, Hartford Courant, 7 May 2024 Your fiancee’s behavior and your response are the very essence of dysfunction. Amy Dickinson, Baltimore Sun, 17 June 2024 While Lamb's fiancee and his daughter remained in the hospital, the Pinal County Sheriff's office announced the connection to the victims. Rey Covarrubias Jr., The Arizona Republic, 13 June 2024 His uncle’s fiancee jumped out of a window from the second floor, Livingston said. Jennifer Rodriguez, Kansas City Star, 9 June 2024 Manny said the same thing about his fiancee back in Denver, and Michelle began tearing up when talking about her boyfriend waiting for her in Houston. Rachel Bernhard, Journal Sentinel, 29 May 2024 Young Thomas died in 2020 after his father, ex-NYPD cop Michael Valva, and his fiancee, Angela Pollina, forced the boy to sleep in an unheated garage and then hosed the child down with freezing water. Leonard Greene, New York Daily News, 4 Apr. 2024 When David's fiancee, Hella, arrives in Paris, their affair is revealed. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 30 May 2024 The premise is a bit of a mouthful: Daphne pretends to date her ex-fiance’s new fiancee’s ex-boyfriend ahead of the wedding of the aforementioned ex-fiance. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 20 May 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fiancée.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, feminine of fiancé — see fiancé

First Known Use

1835, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fiancée was in 1835

Dictionary Entries Near fiancée

Cite this Entry

“Fiancée.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fianc%C3%A9e. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

fiancée

noun
fi·​an·​cée ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā How to pronounce fiancée (audio)
fē-ˈän-ˌsā
: a woman engaged to be married
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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