We often hear words, or use words that we never fully understand, but we continue using them anyway. Fiancée and Fiancé are two words that people often find themselves confused in. These terms are often used only when you or someone you know has just been engaged, that is when you start referring to their partners are either fiancé or fiancée. But it can often be confusing, as some people find themselves thinking they either mean the same thing, or have the same effect.
Both the words are French, and hence have the same origin, and therefore people speaking English as a native language with little or no experience with the French language might be confused with how to use these two words, and what they actually mean. You no longer have to worry about that, because with this article, we can help you create a difference between the two words and you will just always get it right!
Fiancée and Fiancé: Meaning and Difference
Before we begin discussing the difference between the two words, fiancé and fiancée, we will look at what they mean (literally) to gain a clearer perspective as to what do the two words mean. We will look at each definition one by one, and then have a combined discussion about the differences between them in great detail.
Fiancé: the word fiancé, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary means a man that is engaged to be married. Some synonyms for the word could include groom-to-be.
Fiancée: the word fiancée however means a woman that is engaged to be married, this definition is extracted from the Cambridge English Dictionary.
Both these words belong to the French Language, which is why if your native language is English and you’ve had very little or no experience with French it is okay for you to not know the differences between the words. Now that we have stated both these definitions, let’s talk about some of the differences that these words entail.
One of the most evident differences between these two words are the fact that they are gender specific. Fiancé (with one ‘e’) is used for a male counterpart, whereas fiancée (with two e’s) is used for a female partner in an engaged couple. When someone refers to someone’s fiancée they are talking about a female, whereas when you refer to someone as someone’s fiancé, you are talking about a male.
Another difference that the words can make is how people hear you say them. If you say to someone “Tom’s fiancé had the nicest boat I’ve ever seen” people might assume that Tom is gay, and has a male counterpart even though in reality you were talking about Tom’s fiancée Sarah.
The same is the case with when you use the word fiancée with a female, they will automatically assume that they are in a same sex relationship. And in this day and age, where modern societies are far beyond what they used to be, it is a common mistake that people might not know whether the counter part is a female or not, and can you really blame them?
How to Pronounce Fiancée and Fiancé
We understand that for people who sometimes get confused between the meaning, and how those words are used can often be confused about how they are pronounced as well? It has often come to our knowledge that there are words in the English language which are spelled different and hold polls apart meanings but are often pronounced the same way, some of these words include rain or reign, poll or pole, ate or eight, bare or bear, by or bye, dew or due, flour or flower, knight or night, and mail or male. These words are called Homophone words, which means that they are words that sound the same, but have different meanings.
Even though both Fiancé and Fiancée have the same origin, and are more or less used to describe the same thing, with the only difference being that they are gender specific; we would still consider them homophone words because of how you may pronounce them. Since both these words are adapted from the French language, and holds a foreign entity in the English language, it is often pressurized that these words maintain their French accents and hence both of them are pronounced the same way. The correct way to pronounce the words is “fee-ahn-say.”
We know it can be confusing since one has a single 'e' at the end, while the other one has two. In normal English language, if the words had been entirely adapted and assigned its own accent, the e used in fiancé would be silent, whereas in fiancée the same e would have emphasis since used with an additional one. However, since the words still maintain their hereditary accent, they continue to be pronounced the same way; this way, the only difference between these words can only be seen in writing and how you use it in a sentence.
How to Use Fiancée and Fiancé in Sentences
There is very little variation in the way these words are used in sentences, however, since we have made the distinction between the two words and their gender roles, we know that in order to differentiate between the two for people who don’t know how these words are used, we would need to use supporting words that describe whether we are talking about a male counterpart, or a female one.
Below we will list down a few examples of sentences where the words fiancé and fiancée have been used to give you a clearer idea of how you could use these words in sentences while making sure that you make the meaning and the intended gender clear for the people on the receiving end.
1. "I decided to spy on and then later confront my fiancé, after I had gathered enough proof that he had been cheating on me with a colleague of his."
As you can see, the relationship between the fiancé and the person is unclear, whether the speaker is a man or a woman remains unclear, and therefore it could either be two men in an engaged relationship or a woman with a man.
2. "Sharon’s fiancé is an avid golfer and she is often seen going with him for golfing, even though she isn’t half as good as him."
The sentence makes it very clear how Sharon (a female counterpart) is being talked about in relation with her fiancé who is a man. This sentence helps make the relationship between the two extremely clear.
3. "Samuel and his fiancé spent an awful lot of time at the old home, but this never went in vain, on their wedding even though neither of their families wanted to be a part of the ceremony, it was taken over by old home residents that played their parts in the ceremony to make sure neither of them felt incomplete on their big day!"
In the above mentioned sentence, it is clear that the relationship being talked about was between two men who were engaged, it also shows the importance of how you use the word and the pronouns and adjectives that you use with it to make the meaning evident.
1. "I had decided to take my fiancée out for a lavish dinner, it had been a long time since we had spent some quality time together and both of us need it!"
This sentence proves no clear indication as to whether the sentence is from a man to his wife to be or from a woman to her wife to be.
2. "Jonathan’s fiancée was an architect, and loved her job, but he made her quit so that she could relocate with him to his new job. That place just did not have enough aspiring prospects for a young architect!"
The above mentioned sentence talks about how John had made his fiancée quit her career so they could be together, which defines their gender relationship quite clearly instead of keeping the one listening confuse about the intended usage.
3. "Sarah and her fiancée wanted the house with the porch but instead they decided to buy the studio apartment to that Sarah could continue college! Isn’t that wonderful?"
This sentence also describes a clear relationship between two gay women who are to be married soon.
Fun Fact about of How These 2 Words Got Popular
Want to hear a fun fact about the words fiancé and fiancée and their development in the English world? As previously mentioned in the article, while English is a language that adapts foreign words slowly but eventually ends up taking their accents away and employing their own and taking the roots of its native language away; these two words that originated from the French language to this date still have the accent that the French originally used. This is one of the few words in the English dictionary that still have its native roots, and remain to stay that way.
There are so many words in the world that we hear, but hardly know what they mean. The French words fiancé and fiancée are one of those words that just boggle up your mind. The aforementioned article will help you differentiate between the two and help you use them correctly. You just need to remember these fundamental differences between the two:
Fiancé is a masculine word for someone who is engaged
Fiancée is a feminine word for someone who is engaged.
If you remember this, you’ll be able to nail the usage, without anyone ever pointing it out