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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for philandering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Hanging about and philandering, that's what they want," he said to his cousin Ned.

    Phineas Redux Anthony Trollope
  • He was completely cured of philandering amongst the lower classes.

    The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
  • At many windows, to my envy, couples were philandering; the night was cold and Corydon stood huddled in his cape.

  • We heard you come up the street, and saw you philandering on the front walk.

    The Squirrel-Cage Dorothy Canfield
  • He spent his time wavering about and going to various meetings, philandering and weeping.

    Aaron's Rod D. H. Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for philandering


(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 philandering



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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