I can use child to replace son or daughter, sibling for sister or brother, and parent for mother or father.

What is the unisex replacement for fiancée and fiancé?

I don’t need it for speech, but for formal or semi-formal writing.

  • He/She is 'spoken for'
    – user5531
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 14:59
  • 1
    Is there one for aunt/uncle? Do gender neutral terms necessarily exist in all cases?
    – user3065
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 15:09
  • 2
    @barrycarter: A sibling of my parent's? :)
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 15:56
  • @Kosmonaut How about bride/groom? (not "spouse", since that's after they're married).
    – user3065
    Commented Mar 25, 2011 at 1:51
  • 1
    @barrycarter: Person getting married? (I'm being somewhat facetious — these names aren't very good!)
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Mar 25, 2011 at 12:48

4 Answers 4


For formal writing, betrothed would be my number one choice. But, as Lunatik already gave that answer, I'll provide some more: spouse-to-be (instead of the gender-specific wife-to-be and husband-to-be), future spouse, prospective spouse, intended (date and informal).

Of course, it's much easier to refer to use adjectives and refer to the couple as a whole, if you can rewrite it in this way. This opens the door to: engaged, affianced, pledged in marriage, etc.


"Betrothed" can be used as a noun, but I admit it does sound a bit stuffy.


My suggestion would be to use fiance (no accent). In my experience most people aren't aware of the distinction between fiancée and fiancé, since it isn't reflected in speech, and simply reverting to the shorter form and leaving off the accent (to confound francophones) may be sufficient.

  • 4
    Though purposefully making mistakes doesn't sound fit for “formal or semi-formal writing”, does it?
    – F'x
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 14:56
  • 3
    @F'x: Writing fiance is not a mistake, as the accent-less version is endorsed as an alternate spelling by every dictionary I checked. Commented Mar 25, 2011 at 14:35
  • If your going to drop the accent, I'd suggest using fiancee. It retains the apparent last syllable, and follows nicely with "employee" and other "actee" words.
    – No Name
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 3:45

Traditionally, "fiancé" was used male and "fiancée" for female; however, this is not reliably followed today, and "fiancé" is often used as a gender-neutral term.

Matt called his fiancé and told her to come to the office.

-- 2018, T. K. Kohl, Quest of the Staff and the Sword, page 153.

Use "fiancé".

  • The comment made earlier by F'x, to a similar answer, applies to this one as well: 'purposefully making mistakes doesn't sound fit for “formal or semi-formal writing”'.
    – jsw29
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 23:10

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