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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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 plot thickens further when Miranda's boyfriend becomes her fiance. Elizabeth Montgomery, The Arizona Republic, "How 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' just might make you believe in love again," 31 July 2020 Tutor and the other castmembers hinted that the rival show was lacking in the real estate credentials department, relying instead on the interpersonal drama between its stars, including HGTV star Tarek El Moussa's new fiance Heather Rae Young. Hannah Chubb,, "Selling Sunset Stars Reply to MDLLA Shade: ‘I Don't Go Announce Every Deal I'm Doing’," 31 July 2020 During a hectic move last week, the bear was stolen from outside the U-Haul that Soriano and her fiance rented to transport their belongings. Alisha Ebrahimji And Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Stolen teddy bear with dying mother's voice returned to daughter after actor Ryan Reynolds and others offered a $15,000 reward," 30 July 2020 For Cocoa, Florida, residents Christine Powell and her fiance, Robert Hammond, the relentless downward economic drag of the past six months has been suffocating. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "'I hide in the bathroom and cry': Americans struggle with unemployment delays," 13 July 2020 Jessica Doty Whitaker of Indianapolis was killed while walking with her fiance, Jose Ramirez, on July 5. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Indiana mother shot and killed following argument over Black Lives Matter, family says," 12 July 2020 My fiance's sister is supposed to get married this month in a different state. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Doctors agonize over skipping a non-socially distanced wedding," 10 July 2020 Tragically, three years after falling in love, my fiance died... Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Dad stays in loveless marriage ‘for the kids’," 29 June 2020 That's exactly the predicament Bindi Irwin and her then-fiance, Chandler Powell, found themselves in late March when the global coronavirus pandemic hit Australia. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Bindi Irwin had the 'weirdest honeymoon ever' in lockdown with husband at Australia Zoo," 10 July 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of fiancé was in 1838

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Statistics for fiancé

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fiancé.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on fiancé

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fiancé

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fiancé

Spanish Central: Translation of fiancé

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