par·​amour | \ ˈper-ə-ˌmu̇r How to pronounce paramour (audio) , ˈpa-rə-\

Definition of paramour

: lover specifically : an illicit or secret lover a married man and his paramour Her account put him in the position of looking like the duped lover believing the cheating married paramour's protestation of love … — Bettina Drew

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Did You Know?

Paramour came to English from French (a language based on Latin), though the modern French don't use the word. Since par amour meant "through love", it implies a relationship based solely on love, often physical love, rather than on social custom or ceremony. So today it tends to refer to the lover of a married man or woman, but may be used for any lover who isn't obeying the social rules.

Examples of paramour in a Sentence

And faster than you can say "You've got mail!" he fell hard for his unseen paramour. — Kipp Cheng, Entertainment Weekly, 23 Oct. 1998 His Vietnamese paramour was a young woman of remarkable beauty. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 As the vessel made sail immediately, and landed no part of their cargo, there seemed little doubt that they were accomplices of the notorious Robertson, and that the vessel had only come into the firth to carry off his paramour. — Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian, 1818
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Recent Examples on the Web

Step-siblings and occasional paramours Kathryn Merteuil (a brunette Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillipe at his poutiest) turn romance into a sport, hoping to entrap their fellow students and one up each other. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Cruel Intentions Is Still a Teenage Fashion Dream 20 Years On," 22 Mar. 2019 Though clad in the fashions of the time, the unfaithful wife is Aphrodite, the goddess of love; her handsome paramour is Ares, the god of war; and the outraged husband who has snared the cheating pair in a powerful golden mesh is... Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Love and War as the Meddling Gods Look On," 1 Mar. 2019 One of the agents was Peter Strzok, who is famous for his anti-Trump texts to his FBI paramour. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Flynn Entrapment," 12 Dec. 2018 The Duchess of Sussex chose the rather distinguished paramour style in April and wore the label again in October. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "The 6 Brands of Shoes Meghan Markle Always Has in Her Closet," 10 Dec. 2018 Elsewhere on various court dockets this past week, the ex-Playboy playmate and alleged Trump paramour Karen MacDougal reached an agreement with American Media and can now tell all of us every lurid detail of their 10-month romance. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Who's Afraid of Mr. Magoo?," 22 Apr. 2018 Kendall, what does this tell you about the paramour's involvement with the media in setting a narrative against Trump and his associates? Fox News, "Woman who knew Kavanaugh in high school speaks out," 14 Sep. 2018 Most of the headlines imply that Mr. Strzok was let go solely because of his inflammatory text messages with FBI colleague and paramour Lisa Page. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Strzok and Consequences," 14 Aug. 2018 His paramour would allegedly log into the account and read the drafts. Max Colchester And Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Hiding Russian Money Was Easy. Quitting Was Harder.," 4 Aug. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for paramour

Middle English, from par amour for the sake of love, willingly, from Anglo-French par amur

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Statistics for paramour

Last Updated

30 May 2019

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Time Traveler for paramour

The first known use of paramour was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for paramour



English Language Learners Definition of paramour

literary : a person with whom someone is having a romantic or sexual relationship and especially a secret or improper relationship

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More from Merriam-Webster on paramour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paramour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paramour

Nglish: Translation of paramour for Spanish Speakers

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