Word Confusion: Fiancé versus Fiancée

Posted May 22, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of
26 June 2017

Yep, it’s another one of those French male-versus-female distinctions. Authors may want to make a general note about French words that apply to one sex or the other, to be aware of that extra e that gets applied to the feminine version. If only because it drives me nuts to read about his fiancé. Well, unless it’s a male-on-male novel and one guy has just proposed to the other guy. And I gotta tell ya…it doesn’t happen that often. Ahem.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Fiancé Fiancée
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Who Did Sean Pick?” courtesy of Today Entertainment

Sean Lowe from “The Bachelor” will be a fiancé.

The painting, “La Fiancée”, is by Jules Lefebvre and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for the noun: fiancés
Plural for the noun: fiancées

Man who is engaged to be married

Woman who is engaged to be married
George is my fiancé. He left to present his fiancée to his family.
History of the Word:
Mid-19th century is from French, the past participle of fiancer meaning betroth, which is from Old French fiance meaning a promise and based on the Latin fidere meaning to trust.

You may want to explore other masculine-feminine word confusions from the French such as “Blond versus Blonde (which includes Brunet vs Brunette)”, “Chargé d’affaires vs Chargée d’affaires“, “Cher, Chéri versus Chère, Chérie“, “Attach vs Attaché vs Attachée“, “Confidant vs Confidante vs Confident“, or “Protégé versus Protégée“.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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Pinterest Photo Credits

Engaged! by Noelle Franzen, under the FreeImages.com Content License.