fi·​an·​cé | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā How to pronounce fiancé (audio) , fē-ˈän-ˌsā \

Definition of fiancé

: a man engaged to be married

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Synonyms for fiancé


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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 fiancé in a Sentence

Let me introduce my fiancé. couldn't wait to show off her fiancé to all of her relatives
Recent Examples on the Web The 22-year-old went missing after she and her fiance, Brian Laundrie went on a cross-country road trip. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 After learning that the 22-year-old travel blogger was last believed to be headed to Wyoming’s Teton area while on a cross-country trip with her fiance, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, Schultz decided to contact the FBI. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Sep. 2021 Her daughter and the fiance are in their 30s and have well-paying jobs but are very happy to have my sister foot the bill. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 31 Aug. 2021 South of Tahoe, Rick Nelson and his wife, Diane, had planned to host a weekend wedding at Fallen Leaf Lake, where his daughter and her fiance had met. Fox News, 25 Aug. 2021 South of Tahoe, Rick Nelson and his wife, Diane, had planned to host a weekend wedding at Fallen Leaf Lake, where his daughter and her fiance had met. Sam Metz And Brian Melley, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Aug. 2021 Sherry Mash said neither son nor her fiance was vaccinated, WTOC reported. al, 17 Aug. 2021 Celisa, 15 weeks pregnant, and the only family member who'd been able to taste the turkey and dressing, climbed into a tub with her infant son, and her fiance shielded them with his body. USA Today, 17 June 2021 According to court documents, the woman’s ex-fiance drove from Florida to New Jersey to confront her, armed with a handgun, knives, zip ties and duct tape. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fiancé.' 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 fiancé

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fiancé

French, from Middle French, from past participle of fiancer to promise, betroth, from Old French fiancier, from fiance promise, trust, from fier to trust, from Vulgar Latin *fidare, alteration of Latin fidere — more at bide

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Time Traveler for fiancé

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The first known use of fiancé was in 1838

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fiancé.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for fiancé


fi·​an·​cé | \ ˌfē-ˌän-ˈsā \

Kids Definition of fiancé

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


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