Difference Between Fiance vs Fiancee

Difference Between Fiance vs Fiancee

Many people have pondered the question of what is the difference between fiance and fiancee? The goal of this article is to finally clear up any confusion there may be out there in regards to precisely what these two words actually mean.

Luckily, they are actually very easy to separate. Where a great deal of confusion comes from in the fiancé vs fiancée debate is usually the way that these words get used as part of spoken sentences. They actually fit into identical sentence structures and sound completely the same when spoken, but they relate to two different definitions!

We will give you a rundown of the meaning behind each word, which will be followed by an easy to use a table that is designed to provide you with a quick reference guide to come back to should you get confused about the meaning of these words again at any point in the future.

Definition of Fiance

First, the exact definition of fiance is a male to whom someone is engaged to be married. So, fiance is a gender specific word that is comparable to fiancee for women. As soon as we have dived further into the exact definition of this word, the difference between fiance and fiancee is going to become very clear. However, further exploration behind the origins of each word and their meanings is certainly going to help you to remember how to use these words properly going forward.

So straight away, we can see that this word is gender specific. And this is the fundamental difference between the two words. The word fiance itself has origins in the French, Latin, and Old French languages. There are actually combinations of several words from these languages that helped to form the two gender specific variants we commonly use today.

The words in question are “fidare,” “fiance,” and “fiancer.” In order, they mean trust, promise, and betroth. The first word listed is Latin in origin with the other two being Old French and French respectively. Simply due to the definition of these old words, it is very easy to see how the current meaning of the two modern words that we are examining today came to be!

The difference between fiance and fiancee is now probably very obvious to you, but it is important to explain why there are two different words in the first place because it will help you to identify other words of a foreign origin more easily.

Definition of Fiancee

The exact definition of fiancee is a female to whom someone is engaged to be married. You might be feeling like the fiancee vs fiance debate is now a little pointless considering that they are both essentially the same word, but it is the way in which both words are spoken identically that can lead to some confusion. Although you can write one word to address a man and another word to address a woman, they will sound the same when you actually say the words.

This is why when it comes to writing the words down, you should pay close attention to the correct spelling. It is very easy to accidentally label an engaged male as a fiancee, for instance, if you forget to remove one of the “e’s”! So really, the major difference between them largely comes down to the way they are written, as you probably would not know the difference purely by hearing each word.

The origins of this word are also precisely the same as fiance, so you might be wondering why each one is spelled slightly differently. This is a very important area to observe because it will deepen your understanding of other similar words in the future.

In English, we sometimes keep the French accent mark like the little marks above the “e’s” in fiancé and fiancée to remind us that the words do not use standard English pronunciation. Recently, it is becoming increasingly common to refer to both men and women as fiancés. It is still most correct to use the gender specific terms, although the accent marks are optional.

When you see the additional “e” at the end of fiancee, you now know that it indicates a feminine word. This is why fiancee is used to describe women who are engaged to be married. French has gender specific words, and both fiance and fiancee are examples.

Main Differences Between Fiance vs Fiancee

To help you remember the difference between fiancée vs fiancé, we have created a quick reference table covering the main points below.

Basis of ComparisonFiancé Fiancée
Gender Male Female
Spoken pronunciation Identical to fiancée Identical to fiancé
Spelling Only one “e” Two “e’s”
Accent marksOne accent mark One accent mark
MeaningsA man who is engaged to be married A woman who is engaged to be married

This table alone highlights everything you need to separate these words from one another. Even if you do not read through the definitions of each word in full, you can still tell them apart just by absorbing the information above.

Difference Between Fiance and Fiancee: Conclusion

Because the difference between these common words largely relies only on one letter, it is very easy to see how they can be mistaken for one another in both written and spoken word. When it comes to spoken word, the confusion is largely due to perspective! So, when someone thinks they are labeling an engaged member of the opposite sex in the correct manner, they may actually be thinking of entirely the wrong word based on their own gender.

Our table should help you to remember the differences easily, but here is a quick sentence for you to absorb and come back to if you get lost. The word “male” only has one “e” just like fiancé, and the word “female” has two “e’s” just like fiancée. If that one sentence stays in your mind, then you should have no trouble at all separating the two from now on.