engagement question

When you are engaged to marry I have always heard the term fiancee used pronounced FEE AN SAY

Someone told me that is for a female and that an engaged male is actually called a fiance pronounced FEE AHNS

Was someone pulling my leg?

Yea! Another occasion where five years of French comes in handy! :smiley:

Someone is pulling your leg. The French spell the two words as follows:

male: fiancé (FI AN SAY)
female: fiancée (FI AN SAY)

The “accent aigue” (prounounced “AX-sont AY-GYOO”) over the letter e means that the e is prounounced “ay”.

Hope that helps!

Fiance (the male half of a mixed-sex engaged couple) and fiancee (the female half) are both pronounced fee ahn SAY. The extra “e” is a gender indicator from the original French.

A man has a fiancée. A woman has a fiance. Both are pronounced the same “fee-ahn-say” as far as I know, although I tend to stress the last syllable for a fiancée (fee-ahn-SAY) and the second for a man (fee-AHN-say).

Please note that I referred to male/female just out of ease, and not as a slight towards same-sex marriages.

Not quite. A fiancée is female. A fiancé (with the accent) is male. The pronunciation of both words is identical, with the stress on the last syllable.

It’s the past participle of the verb “se fiancer”, meaning to engage oneself to marry. “Fiance”, with no accent, would be the present indicative third person; “il se fiance”, he engages himself to marry. As for pronunciation, the final “e” would not be voiced at all; “fee-ahns”.

If you re-read his post, that is exactly what “TellMeI’mNotCrazy” said.

No it isn’t.

UDS corrected TellMeI’mNotCrazy’s omission of the accent from the male version (fiancé), and also pointed out that they are pronounced exactly the same (including which syllables are stressed).

The original French pronunciation would have the stress on the last syllable, but IMHO it’s perfectly OK to stress the second syllable in English-speaking countries. There is, however, no good reason why one should stress one of the two words (fiancé and fiancée) in a different way from the other.

<facetious>Maybe it’d be easier to just go back to ‘betrothed.’ Plus, it’s got a good ring to it.

“Hi, I’d like you to meet my betrothed, Janet.” :smiley:


How ‘bout this? "Mom, Dad, this is the boy I’m shackin’ up with."

The fiancé question has been well addressed here. But I must admit that it brought to mind a pet peve of mine about how anohter French word is pronounced in the states: blanc, which is French for white (masculin, singular).

In the context of wine, I often hear it pronounced in the states, and also sometimes in English Canada, which is even less defensible, as:


the c is silent, dammit, :stuck_out_tongue:

If you pronounce it same as blond, but without the d, then you’re saying as well as could be expected of any English native speaker.

And you would immediately appear far more cultured and sophisticated too…

Joking, I’m sure, but shacking up doesn’t imply engagement. Hence Mom & Dad’s dismay that you’re giving away the milk for free, and not even giving it away for future consideration. :slight_smile: