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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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
Recent Examples on the Web To be sure, the film does open with Albus having a genteel tea with his unlikely paramour, evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp). Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 The relationship between the two disintegrates about as fast as the company does, and viewers are introduced to Holmes' infamous dog Balto and new paramour Billy as Elizabeth seeks to distance herself from the company's scandals. Lauren Huff,, 7 Apr. 2022 Seyfried channels Holmes’ distinctive husky voice in the series, which stars Naveen Andrews as her enabler and former paramour, Sunny Balwani. Diane Garrett, Variety, 12 Mar. 2022 Peterson was arrested only after his own paramour came forward, saying Peterson had told her his wife was gone a month before her actual disappearance. Fox News, 26 Feb. 2022 Helmed by the combo of Goldfinger frontman and producer extraordinaire John Feldmann and her current paramour and collaborator, Mod Sun, Love Sux is Lavigne’s return to her roots for a new generation. Josh Chesler, SPIN, 25 Feb. 2022 Only to find that her new paramour has been hiding some unusual appetites. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 7 Mar. 2022 As Phil Potter, a writer, Burt Reynolds makes a charming romantic lead, caught between his neurotic new paramour (Clayburgh) and estranged wife (a riotously funny Candice Bergen). Marley Marius, Vogue, 25 Jan. 2022 Joe Exotic isn’t the type to mope around after a paramour dumps him for a bright (ha!) future in butthole lighteners. Joan Kubicek, Vulture, 20 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

16 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paramour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paramour

Nglish: Translation of paramour for Spanish Speakers


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