par·​amour | \ˈper-ə-ˌmu̇r, 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

While some videos show the couple acting surprised that their paramour is suddenly recording, Chicklet has admitted that some videos are re-creations of real moments. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "When this Instagram couple has vicious fights, millions of people tune in," 31 Aug. 2018 But what would happen if, instead of your crushes living out their inevitably short-lived life cycle, all of your would-be paramours discovered your infatuation?, "Netflix Just Announced Another Teen Rom-Com — & It May Be Its Best Yet," 21 June 2018 That exoneration, that change in language, actually appears to be the insurance policy that Peter Strzok was talking about with Lisa Page, his paramour, in those text messages. Fox News, "Questions remain after Wray and Horowitz testify," 19 June 2018 Potomac Watch Podcast Potomac Watch Podcast One initial batch of documents contained an Oct. 11, 2016 text message from FBI official Peter Strzok to his FBI paramour Lisa Page. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The FBI’s Document Blackouts," 13 June 2018 When the paramours earn their living by faking emotion, getting down to the real deal can take some time. Sarah Dunn, New York Times, "Two Novels on the Complexities of Revisiting Past Loves," 1 June 2018 The official trailer for Creed II’s dropped this morning, featuring shots of the Philadelphia skyline and Laurel Hill Cemetery (where Rocky paramour Adrian is buried). Claire Wolters,, "Watch: First trailer for 'Creed II' released," 20 June 2018 Personalized attacks, NDAs, threats and money may work for small jobs like disposing of business partners or quieting chatty paramours. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "Trump vs. Mueller: Is the American Legal System Any Match for the President?," 8 Mar. 2018 Her paramour is hard as nails (his definition of mercy is handing a man a gun with a single bullet before locking him in a train compartment and setting it loose from the main locomotive)., "Westworld Season 2, Episode 6 Recap: "Hello, Old Friend"," 28 May 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

14 Nov 2018

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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

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

Comments on paramour

What made you want to look up paramour? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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