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 But her longtime paramour, the Joker, doesn’t join her onscreen for the movie. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Explaining the Joker's Minimal But Crucial Role in Birds of Prey," 7 Feb. 2020 Money for a paramour Expenses were being used to cover for an executive’s business class airfare and meals for a companion on a business trip to Europe. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Private helicopter rides, strip clubs: 8 crazy things you put on your expense report," 12 Dec. 2019 The report says the woman resembles Mr. Bezos’s then-secret paramour, thus is evidence the Saudis had access to Mr. Bezos’s private photos. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Jeff Bezos Tries to Wag the Dog," 24 Jan. 2020 Her absence is palpable, leaving us to wonder if there is still a trace of bad blood between her and her ex-boss/onetime paramour. Mara Reinstein, Billboard, "'Hitsville: The Making of Motown' Is Stylish, Slick and Safe," 23 Aug. 2019 Getty Images Jason Wahler was a notorious party boy and paramour of Lauren Conrad in the original iteration of The Hills. Marie Claire, "Who Is Jason Wahler's Wife Ashley Slack On 'The Hills'?," 24 June 2019 His partner is not a willing paramour but an animated doll. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "A Hundred Years of Fellini," 17 Jan. 2020 The parent was Lillian Ross, a writer for The New Yorker and paramour of the magazine’s editor, William Shawn. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Charles Reich, Who Saw ‘The Greening of America,’ Dies at 91," 17 June 2019 As a good-time gal with a heart of gold, Knight’s comic timing was spot-on whether eviscerating her paramour with insults or offering off-kilter advice to a novice nun. Matthew J. Palm,, "Orlando Theater Best of 2019: Featured actress, musical," 5 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for paramour

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for paramour

Last Updated

3 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paramour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for paramour


How to pronounce paramour (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paramour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paramour

Nglish: Translation of paramour for Spanish Speakers

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