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 formsphi·lan·der·er, noun

Synonyms for philander Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for philanderer

gallant, flirt, debaucher, lover, operator, cruiser, swinger, chaser, adulterer

Examples from the Web for philanderer

Contemporary Examples of philanderer

Historical Examples of philanderer

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for philanderer



(intr often foll by with) (of a man) to flirt with women
Derived Formsphilanderer, nounphilandering, noun, adjective

Word Origin for philander

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

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