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[fi-lan-der] /fɪˈlæn dər/
verb (used without object)
(of a man) to make love with a woman one cannot or will not marry; carry on flirtations.
Origin of philander
1675-85; < Greek phílandros one who loves (of a woman, loving her husband); see philo-, andro-; later used in fiction as a proper name for a lover, and apparently mistaken as “a man who loves”
Related forms
philanderer, noun
trifle, dally, womanize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for philanderer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A vision of his antitype, the Cowes philanderer, crossed me for a second.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • In one of his plays—The philanderer—a certain character has five or six natures.


    James Huneker
  • His "The philanderer" was published before a theater would accept it.

    Six Major Prophets Edwin Emery Slosson
  • For all that he was puzzled; he had not thought Musgrave a philanderer.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck

    Harold Bindloss
  • "If Musgrave's not a philanderer, he's mighty dull," he said.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck

    Harold Bindloss
  • There is no twopenny modernism in it, as in The philanderer.

    George Bernard Shaw Gilbert K. Chesterton
British Dictionary definitions for philanderer


(intransitive) often foll by with. (of a man) to flirt with women
Derived Forms
philanderer, noun
philandering, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Greek philandros fond of men, from philos loving +anēr man; used as a name for a lover in literary works
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for philanderer

1816, agent noun from philander (v.).



1737, from the noun meaning "a lover" (1700), from Philander, popular name for a lover in stories, drama, and poetry, from Greek adjective philandros "with love for people," perhaps mistaken as meaning "a loving man," from phil- "loving" (see philo-) + andr-, stem of aner "man" (see anthropo-). Related: Philandered; philandering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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