Grammar 10 min read

Fiancée or Fiancé: How to Use Each Properly

Main Fiancée or Fiancé Takeaways:

  • Fiancé (with one “e“) refers to a man who is engaged to be married.
  • Fiancée (with two “e“s) is a noun meaning a woman who is engaged to be married.
  • Though fiancé and fiancée are spelled slightly differently, they are pronounced the exact same way (fee-on-SAY).
  • Both words have French origins. The words have different endings to reflect the gender they belong to (a common practice in French).
  • Traditionally, the female fiancée receives an engagement ring from the male fiancé as a symbol of his promise to marry her.
  • In this way, the female gets something extra that the male doesn’t, just like the feminine word fiancée gets an extra “e” that the masculine fiancé doesn’t.
  • You can write both words with their accents, but you don’t have to.
  • If you do, be sure to place the accent over the only “e” in fiancé and over the first “e” in fiancée.

Although the two words look similar and are pronounced exactly the same, one refers to men (fiancé) and the other refers to women (fiancée). Let’s look at the differences between fiancé vs. fiancée so you know how to use both without a hitch.

I know I’m biased, but I think my fiancée is the most beautiful woman on the planet

It’s our wedding night! You may still be my fiancée today, but tomorrow you’ll be my wife.

My fiancé’s favorite song is The Macarena, so I’m sure we’ll be dancing to it at the wedding.

Laura told her fiancé Michael that she had always dreamed of getting married in Tuscany.

Dana moved in with her fiancé the week after he proposed.

Fiancee or fiance? Two panels. First panel shows a ring designed with a woman's gender symbol in pink background. Second panel shows a ring with a man's gender symbol in blue background.
A fiancé is a man who is engaged to be married. Meanwhile, a fiancée is a woman who is engaged to be married.

Is it Fiancée or Fiancé?

Use fiancé (with one ‘e‘ at the end) for a male who is engaged to be married, but you should use fiancée (two ‘e‘s at the end) for a woman who is engaged to be married. Therefore, the difference between the spellings fiancé and fiancée is gender. This is because English borrowed these two words from French, which commonly uses separate word endings to differentiate between equivalent masculine and feminine words.

Two Easy Ways to Remember the Difference

💍 Trick #1: “E” is for Engagement (Extra Ring, Extra “E”)

For the actual wedding, the bride and groom exchange similar rings called wedding bands. However, for the engagement, only the female receives an engagement ring.

Therefore, you can associate the “e” in engagement with the extra “e” in fiancée. The woman engaged to be married gets an extra ring. In the same way, the feminine word for a woman engaged to be married gets an extra “e.”

👰 Trick #2: Extra “E,” Extra “E”-legant

An easy way to remember the difference is to associate that bonus “e” in the feminine fiancée with “elegant”.

This is because a woman is extra elegant on her wedding day (Extra elegant = ee = fiancée).

How Do You Say Fiancé and Fiancée?

Say fiancé and fiancée in exactly the same way (fee-ON-say). However, in their original French, the pronunciation places the emphasis on the final syllables instead of the second one. For example, the acute accent over the only “e” in fiancé and the second “e” in fiancée let you know where to put the emphasis.

👂 In terms of pronunciation, fiance and fiancee sound exactly the same.

Does Fiancé Work Both Ways?

Technically, fiancé does not work both ways. Traditionally, the correct term for a male engaged to be married is fiancé (with one “e“) while an engaged woman would be the fiancée (with two “e“s). The reason is because these two nouns originate from a French verb meaning to promise. Since French also uses different word endings to indicate a word’s gender, the English words inherited male and female forms. However, both versions are pronounced the same way (fee-on-say).

What Does the Fiancé Mean?

The fiancé means the future husband. In other words, when a male (or a person identifying as a male) gets engaged, we call him the fiancé. Both fiancé and the feminine version, fiancée, come from the French word “fiancer” meaning “to betroth.” It’s also tied to similar French words like“fier” (“to trust”) and the Latin word “fidus” (“faithful”). Interestingly, people in the 16th and 17th centuries used fiancé as a verb meaning “to engage to be married.

It’s great to call Ben my fiancé, but I can’t wait to make him my husband.
Natalia’s fiancé works downtown as a tutor.
Chris and his fiancé are planning a destination wedding in Lake Como.
My fiancé, Eric, gave me his mother’s ring when he proposed.
I invited Bertha and her fiancé to dinner, so please set out a couple extra plates.

What is a Girl Called After Engagement?

A girl or woman who got engaged can be referred to as the fiancée with an extra e. Fiancée is an old French word that means “a promise.” It was derived from the Latin term fidere, which in turn means “trust.” Fiancée was introduced and later adopted into the English language in the mid 19th century.

As in the case with many French words, like blonde and blond, fiancée is gender specific. Meaning, you can only use it to refer to a particular gender — an engaged woman. Here’s how to use the word fiancée properly in a sentence:

He got engaged and moved into a new apartment with his fiancée.
She’s Michael’s fiancée, not his wife. So, she’ll only be able to use his last name legally after they’re married.
His fiancée is excited to plan their wedding.

Is He My Fiancée or Fiancé?

He is your fiancé. This is because a man who is engaged to be married is the fiancé while a woman is the fiancée. These two nouns come from a French verb that means to promise (think of the engagement and accompanying ring as the man’s promise to the woman). And, French is a language that assigns different word endings depending on gender.

My fiancé, Frankie, is the funniest guy I’ve ever met.

John, my fiancée, is well-known for his dad jokes.

Alexander told his fiancée that she could pick out the wedding cake since she’s the one with the sweet tooth.

Mira, Alexander’s fiancé, spent all day tasting wedding cakes.

While both fiancé and fiancée are used widely in English-speaking countries, both words were originally French.
When someone that identifies as female is engaged to be married, she is called the fiancee. An image of a woman's left hand showing her engagement ring.
Fiancée is the feminine version of fiancé and reserved for females who are engaged.

Is Fiancé for Male or Female?

Fiancé is for the male, not the female. On one hand, fiancé is the masculine version, meaning it refers to an engaged male. On the other hand, fiancée is the feminine version and reserved for females who are engaged. Essentially, the only difference between them is their gendered spelling (from their French origin). They’re pronounced the same way (fee-on-SAY).

What is the Difference Between a Girlfriend and a Fiancée?

In English, the main difference between a girlfriend and a fiancée is an engagement to be married. First, a girlfriend is a female you are dating. This might be a casual relationship just starting off or a more serious one years in the making. However, say you decide your girlfriend is “the one,” you to ask her to marry you, and give her an engagement ring. If she accepts your proposal, then she goes from being your girlfriend to becoming your fiancée.

What to Call Your Female Partner, When:

  • 👩 Girlfriend (before the engagement): a female you are dating, but are not engaged to marry.
  • 💍 Fiancée (after the engagement, but before the wedding): the woman you are engaged to marry.
  • 👰 Wife (after the wedding): the woman you are married to.

What Do I Call My Boyfriend When We are Engaged?

Once you’re engaged, your boyfriend becomes your fiancé. You can use this term from the moment he proposes and you accept (or vice versa!) until you both say “I do”. However, you are his fiancée. The slight difference in spelling stems from their French origins. In fact, French spelling conventions assign different word endings based on the word’s gender (one “e” for males and two “e“s for females). Despite this small difference, pronounce both the same way.

John proposed last night, so now I get to introduce him as my fiancé!
First he was my boyfriend, now my fiancé , and in three weeks he’ll be my husband.
I’ve never met Nate’s fiancée, but I hear he’s a real sweetheart.

How Do You use Fiancé and Fiancée in a Sentence?

Use fiancé to refer to a man who is engaged to be married (My fiancé is the man of my dreams). However, if you’re referring to an engaged woman, use the word fiancée instead (I met my fiancée in college, but she didn’t agree to go out with me until after graduation).

Here are examples of how to use fiancé and fiancée in a sentence:

Everyone, I’d like to introduce my dear friend, Tony, and his lovely fiancée, Lauren.
It’s so strange going from calling you my boyfriend to my fiancé just like that!
Interestingly, the root of both French words fiancé and fiancée is the Latin fidus, meaning faithful.
I’m so excited to marry Margaret even though I’ll kind of miss calling her my fiancée.
Put me down for a plus one. I’ll be bringing Jack, my fiancé.
My fiancée is a former Miss USA and an accomplished chemical engineer.
Mercedes told her fiancé that he had to choose their honeymoon destination because she couldn’t decide.
I’m bringing my fiancée home for the holidays. I hope she loves my family as much as I do.
It’s my first Christmas with a fiancé, and I can’t wait to see what he gets me.

Does Fiance Have two “E’s”?

The word for a female who is engaged to be married is fiancée (with two “e“s). Conversely, use fiancé (with one “e“) for males who are engaged to be married. Notwithstanding the slightly different spellings, pronounce both words the same way (fee-on-SAY).

Common Fiancé and Fiancée Misspellings

  • Finance
  • Finace
  • Financee
  • Fiansay
  • Fiancce

Thankfully, wife and husband are much easier to remember!

Let’s Test how Adept you are now at Using Fiancé and Fiancée

Fiancée or Fiancé Question #1

Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is C. Both words are reserved for someone who is engaged to be married.

Fiancé or Fiancée Question #2

_____ refers to a man who has gotten engaged and plans to get married.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is A. Fiancé is reserved for males who are engaged to be married.

Fiancé and Fiancée Question #3

_____ refers to a woman who is engaged to be married.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. You can associate the extra “e” in fiancée with engagement (extra ring, extra “e”).

Fiancée or Fiancé Question #4

In the 16th and 17th century, fiancé was used as a _____.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. Fiancé was used as a verb meaning “to engage to be married.”

Fiancé and Fiancée Question #5

Fiancé and fiancée have the same pronunciation.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is TRUE. Both words are pronounced the same way: “fee-ON-say.”

Fiancée or Fiancé Quiz Result
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Read More: Is it Mrs. or Ms. or Miss? How to Address Women With Respect

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Pam Weber

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, Writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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