phi·​lan·​der fə-ˈlan-dər How to pronounce philander (audio)
philandered; philandering fə-ˈlan-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce philander (audio)

intransitive verb

: to have casual or illicit sex with a person or with many people
especially : to be sexually unfaithful to one's spouse
usually used of a man
… her philandering brother-in-law; and … the schoolteacher he philanders with. Judith Crist

Examples of philander in a Sentence

he can't seem to stop philandering, even now that he's on his fifth marriage
Recent Examples on the Web First among the swans is Babe Paley (Naomi Watts), wife to philandering former CBS titan William Paley (the late Treat Williams, exceptionally blustery) and Capote’s ostensibly perfect best friend. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Jan. 2024 Emily Blunt shines in a relatively small role as Kitty Oppenheimer, who suffered from depression and had a volatile relationship with her philandering husband, but remained fiercely loyal to him. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Aug. 2023 Continents away in England, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) has grown frustrated with her philandering husband, who is in Australia selling their massive cattle ranch, Faraway Downs. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023 Parisian bon vivant, World War II resistance fighter, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, philandering husband and recluse, Beckett lived a life of many parts. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 21 Sep. 2023 Unfortunately for Josie, her most ardent crush, cheerleader Isabel (Havana Rose Liu), is philandering Jeff’s girlfriend. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 23 Aug. 2023 And then there’s the husband Sophie is divorcing, Ezra Blind, a brilliant, seductive, philandering philosophy professor and point-for-point replica of Susan’s husband, Jacob Taubes. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 11 Aug. 2023 However, screenwriter Perkins delivers a starmaking performance as the ultra-bothered Dewayne, who is feuding with his best friend Lisa (Antoinette Robertson) over her reunion with the formerly philandering Nnamdi (Sinqua Walls). Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2023 On the same day, JoJo, a wife in her 60s, is trying to win her philandering husband back from his mistress. Emily Bond,, 19 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'philander.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from obsolete philander lover, philanderer, probably from the name Philander

First Known Use

1737, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of philander was in 1737

Dictionary Entries Near philander

Cite this Entry

“Philander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


phi·​lan·​der fə-ˈlan-dər How to pronounce philander (audio)
philandered; philandering -d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce philander (audio)
: to be sexually unfaithful to one's wife
philanderer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on philander

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