Fiance vs Fiancee: Learn English

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Getting engaged to someone is a beautiful feeling. But the struggle starts when you are not really sure what to call your partner – fiance or fiancee? If that’s the case or even otherwise, you need not worry. We will clear all your doubts regarding these two similar sounding terms. Before getting into the details, let us first understand the difference between fiance and fiancee from the definition itself.

As per the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

  • A fiance is a man engaged to be married.
  • A fiancee is a woman engaged to be married.

You can observe the verbatim remains the same, only gender changes. It’s quite simple. Just remember an extra “e” in fiancee is for females and you will never forget it again!

Origin of the Word

Fiance and Fiancee, both originated from a widely used mid-19th century term fiancer”  which means to get engaged.  Interestingly, even fiancer is derived from the Latin word “fidare” which means “to trust”

Unlike English, which is a gender-neutral language, French is specific about gender. The extra “e” used in fiancee denotes feminine gender.

French Accent Mark – Fiancé and Fiancée

In fact, the correct way to write is fiancé instead of fiance and fiancée instead of fiancee.

The mark over letter “e” making it “é” denotes an acute accent mark in French. The pronunciation of the letter “é” is somewhat close to “ay” in English. Under the International Phonetic Alphabet system, the pronunciation of the letter “é”  is “/e/”. 

How to Pronounce fiance and fiancee?

You need not put any effort into differentiating the pronunciation of both the terms. They both have the same pronunciation.

What really causes the whole confusion is which pronunciation to choose!

Out of many ways, the two most widely acknowledged pronunciations are:

  • /ˌfiɑnˈseɪ/ (pronounced as “fee-ahn-say“)
  • /fiˈɑnseɪ/ (pronounced as “fee-ahn-say”)

Examples of How to Use Fiance and Fiancee

We believe that most of your confusion regarding the two terms must has already been clarified. In the last attempt, to clarify the meaning of these words even better, we are mentioning two iconic examples.

Fiance

  • Hilary Duff, the star of Disney’s “Lizzie McGuire” and an upcoming reboot of the show, tied the knot with fiance Matthew Koma over the weekend. (Huffington Post; 23 December 2019)

Fiancee

  • Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancée Meghan Markle have released a series of portraits by New York-based fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski to mark their engagement. (Reuters; 21 December 2017)

Hope after reading this article, you will never get confused about the two terms again. Next time when you are making your fiance or fiancee meet your friends and colleagues, introduce them with full confidence!

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