Set the date? We’re only affianced!

One of the most popular questions is when is the wedding. I didn’t think that far ahead. I mainly wanted to give Val jewelry so we can call each other by a new name fiance/fiancée. That’s a weird thing in itself. I just did a Google search to get the right spelling of the word and apparently some guy says that the spelling depends on if you’re referring to a male or female. I then confirmed this with my source for all factual information.

Speaking of WikiPedia, they say the following:

An engagement is an agreement or promise to marry, and also refers to the time between proposal and marriage. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. (citation)

So of course, I was curious on the pronunciation differences. I checked the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but they use the same wav file for both words. Shucks!

Anyways, to answer the question, I’ll say some time in 2008.

One thought on “Set the date? We’re only affianced!

  1. amphiboly

    You need to look in other dictionaries, I suppose.

    Oxford English Dictionary (Brandeis has an online subscription)

    fiancé, n. Also fem. fiancée. [F. fiancé, fiancée, pa. pple. f. fiancer to betroth.]
    * A betrothed person.

    1853 LD. HOUGHTON in Life (1891) I. xi. 490 Nobody much here except Clough and his fiancée, a clever-looking girl. 1864 London Society VI. 58 The bride elect, the fiancé, the trousseau..she took under her most special charge. 1885 Graphic 3 Jan. 10/2 The fiancé, Prince Henry. 1890 BESANT Demoniac ii. 26 He would not trust himself to see his fiancée, Elinor Thanet.

    ======

    The American Heritage Dictionary ( http://www.bartleby.com/61/84/F0098400.html ) adds this:

    fi·an·cé
    * A man to whom a woman is engaged to be married.
    ETYMOLOGY: French, from past participle of fiancer, to betroth, from Old French fiancier, from fiance, trust, from fier, to trust, from Vulgar Latin *fdre, from Latin fdere.

    =====

    Historically speaking, there wasn’t a usage distinction. But, based on the pull of the gendering of the word in French, it has slowly been reserved by careful stylists that the single e with an acute accent is for boys and the double e, with the first one having an acute accent for girls. As Boston marriages (look it up) were around during Fowler’s time, one would suppose there to be an entry in King’s English on what to do in same-sex marriages. On this, Fowler is silent.

    But Chekov is not: “A fiancé is neither this nor that: he’s left one shore, but not yet reached the other.” (from Nauka).

    Good luck on the journey across — may the ride be memorable, exciting, and happy.

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