Can the term divorcée apply if a woman has not only divorced, but subsequently remarried? The definitions I have perused do not address the matter, but I would think the answer is "no."

  • 3
    That sounds like it would be very confusing if she has already remarried. "Divorced" and "married" refer to current marital state, not history. On the other hand, I think they continued to refer to Wallis as a divorcée even after she was married to Edward.VIII, but possibly that was out of spite.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 27 '19 at 20:42

The Cambridge online dictionary defines divorcee as

a man or a woman who is divorced and who has not married again (in the UK)

and ​

a woman who is divorced and who has not married again (in the US)

so, according to the Cambridge online dictionary, a woman (or a man in the UK) ceases to be a divorcee when they marry again. This makes sense since their marital status (as given when they fill in a form) changes from "divorced" to "married".

Admittedly Merriam Webster does not make the distinction between a person who is divorced and remarried and a person who has remarried but they make no statement either way while Cambridge make a definite statement. It seems that a remarried person is no longer a divorcee any more than a remarried widow is still a widow after her remarriage.

  • 1
    The trouble is that a remarried widow is still a widow. It's her widowhood which validates her second marriage. And if she wasn't a widow any more, then no-one could be widowed twice -- which is obviously a nonsense.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 27 '19 at 23:11
  • 5
    Well, I think we'd have to distinguish between status -- here, "widow" -- and event -- here, "being widowed". If a woman is widowed, then remarries, her status is no longer that of a "widow" (which by definition is someone whose husband has dies and who has not remarried -- so I have to disagree that "a remarried widow is still a widow"), even though the event of "having being widowed" still obtains. Thus, if she loses her second husband, and regains the status of "widow," she can be said to have been "twice widowed." Jul 28 '19 at 3:36
  • 1
    The term “former widow of . . .” shows up frequently on Ngram, since these women were entitled to Civil War pensions even though their current status is married.
    – Xanne
    Jul 28 '19 at 5:20
  • 2
    Strictly, surely, a divorcé is a man, and a divorcée is a woman? Jul 28 '19 at 8:38
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey Depends whether you are using the French participle or the English objective/patient (like payee, evacuee, refugee...)
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 28 '19 at 9:04

I think the answer is yes.

The fact that you have remarried doesn't erase the fact that you were divorced. And you remain divorced from your first spouse: that is what validates your second marriage.

Note that an argument substituting single doesn't work: yes, you were single, and now that you're married you're no longer single; but to say you are invalidates your marriage.

In most cases, the fact of divorce ceases to be socially important following a remarriage, which is why divorcees are unlikely nowadays to be referred to as such. Cascabel's example of the Duchess of Windsor is a counter-example: in her case [which was of her time] her divorce continued to be socially notable. But the fact that a divorce may not be socially notable doesn't erase it entirely.


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