fiancée

or fi·an·cee

[ fee-ahn-sey, fee-ahn-sey ]
/ ˌfi ɑnˈseɪ, fiˈɑn seɪ /

noun

a woman engaged to be married.

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Origin of fiancée

First recorded in 1850–55; from French; feminine of fiancé

usage note for fiancée

When French words describe or name people, they are inflected to match the gender of the person. To mark a noun or adjective as feminine, French adds an unaccented letter e at the end of a word. If the person engaged to be married is a man, he’s a fiancé . The bride-to-be is a fiancée . This distinction is usually preserved in English language use of these words: fiancé for a man, fiancée for a woman.
However, it is also common for borrowed words to lose some foreign characteristics. This is why, for example, words like cliché , fiancée , or résumé may be written in English without accent marks. Such an omission in French would be an error, resulting in the wrong pronunciation of these words, but in English, it is acceptable to lose this foreign feature.
Similarly, some English speakers will completely drop the gender agreement in the fiancéfiancée distinction, using fiancé for both men and women. The prescriptive rules of English grammar do not encourage the reduction to a single form, though it is a natural phenomenon for words borrowed into English to neutralize gender markings.
The adjective née presents a slightly different case. The feminine inflection of this French word is the commonly borrowed form, since women are usually the ones to distinguish their maiden names from their married ones. However, the masculine form would be the appropriate one for a man in reference to his original last name, in the increasingly common event of the groom’s name changing with his marriage.
The spelling with the extra e is the marked feminine form and should be used to name or describe a woman: née , divorcée , fiancée . If you choose to spell these French words with their accents, be sure to place them correctly. For words ending in ée, the accented é is the first of the two.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH fiancée

fiancé, fiancée , faience.

Words nearby fiancée

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for fiancée

British Dictionary definitions for fiancée

fiancée
/ (fɪˈɒnseɪ) /

noun

a woman who is engaged to be married
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