I find that frequently, particularly with the advent of same-sex marriage, fiancée and fiancé are used in a confusing manner. For instance, if a man writes:

My fiancé knows all about Java, because...

(Is our speaker in a same-sex relationship, or using the wrong spelling?)

she's a professional programmer.

(Wrong spelling!)

I frequently find myself unable to tell which of these is the case from context, and I expect other people to have the same issue. That is, they are mis-used so much, I can't be sure when they're used correctly. This wouldn't be so bad if they weren't pronounced the same way, making verbal distinction impossible. For instance, if I want to talk about my sister's future wife, I'll say "fiancée," but people are likely to hear "fiancé."

How can I make clear, both in speaking and writing, the gender of the future spouse?

I find "future husband/wife" or "husband/wife-to-be" clunky, so I'd like something more elegant than that. There probably isn't a secret pair of words that I don't know about, but if you can provide me with a cleaner phrasing, I'd accept it. "Girlfriend/boyfriend" doesn't imply the impending marriage, so those don't work for me here.


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    I think it's up to the people who are getting married to determine how they wish to be identified. You could always ask. – Robusto Aug 4 '15 at 10:56
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    @Robusto That's a valid point, but I'd like to find a better way to express this regardless. There are all sorts of uses for "fiance/e" that don't lend themselves to asking people directly which term they'd prefer (fiction, news article, etc). – gp782 Aug 4 '15 at 13:07
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    That people misuse the two words doesn't mean that they need be discarded. If you want to make clear the gender of the future spouse, you use the two words correctly and rely on context if you don't differentiate them in pronunciation. – Arm the good guys in America Mar 22 '17 at 13:41

You say you will accept a pair of words. You can get rid of the problem with fiancé(e) by using the good-old-fashioned English word betrothed.

Maybe you can say "he-betrothed" and "she-bethrothed" or some variation on that. It looks a bit weird but if fulfils your conditions I think!



noun: betrothed

the person to whom one is engaged. "how long have you known your betrothed?"

Google Dictionary

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By combining the prefix Ante- (it means before) with the more traditional bride or groom we now have antebride and antegroom.

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