The Meaning of paramour: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of paramour? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word paramour, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word paramour mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary of the English language as well as other dictionaries like Collins English dictionary and American Heritage, the word paramour is a noun that refers to a lover; specifically, an illicit or secret lover. The pronunciation of paramour is par′a-mōōr. In the past, during the Middle English and Old French par amor/French phrase par amour, this word was used to describe any sense of lover of either sex. Now, the noun paramour is used mostly in an illicit sense and the old usage is considered an archaic word.

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean paramour. You might notice that a lot of these words look and sound similar to each other. This is probably because they share a common origin. Often, cognates – which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages – are formed when two words share a common ancestor such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations of paramour is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Greek: ερωμένος‎ (masc.), ερωμένη‎ (fem.), εραστής‎ (masc.)
  •  Italian: amante‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Roman: ljubavnik‎ (masc.), švaler‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: amante‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Macedonian: љубовник‎ (male), љубовница‎ (female), швалерка‎ (female)
  •  Romanian: amant‎ (masc.), amanta‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: kochanek‎ (masc.), kochanka‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: любо́вник‎ (masc.) (male), любо́вница‎ (fem.) (female)
  •  French: amant‎ (masc.) (male), maîtresse‎ (fem.) (female)
  •  Mandarin: 姦夫‎, 奸夫‎ (jiānfū) (male); 姦婦‎, 奸妇‎ (jiānfù) (female), 情婦‎, 情妇‎ (qíngfù) (female), 相好的‎ (xiānghǎo-de) (colloquial)
  •  German: Geliebte‎ (fem.), Geliebter‎ (masc.), Liebhaber‎ (masc.), Liebhaberin‎ (fem.), Mätresse‎ (fem.), Poussage‎ (fem.), Buhle‎ (fem.)
  •  Slovene: ljubimec‎ (masc.), ljubimka‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 愛人‎ (あいじん, aijin) (male and female), 情婦‎ (じょうふ, jōfu) (female), 男妾‎ (otokomekake, danshō) (male)
  •  Spanish: amante‎ (masc.) (f), amor prohibido‎ (masc.), aventura secreta‎ (fem.)
  •  Arabic: خَلِيل‎ (masc.) (male), خَلِيلَة‎ (fem.) (female), عَشِيق‎ (masc.) (male), عَشِيقَة‎ (fem.) (female)
  •  Finnish: rakastaja‎ (male), rakastajatar‎ (female)
  •  Cyrillic: љубавник‎ (masc.), љубавница‎ (fem.)
  •  Nogai: суьеркер‎ (süerker)
  •  Persian: فاسق‎ (fâseq)
  •  Armenian: սիրած‎, սիրեկան‎ (male), սիրուհի‎ (female)

How can the word paramour be used in a sentence?

The word paramour can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using a word in a sentence is a great way to memorize its definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! It might become one of your new favorite words to use.  Below are examples of paramour.

The woman’s lover was an important man in politics. She wished they could run away and he would take the place of a husband to her, but she knew he could only be her paramour for now.

The man had a love of the sexes; he believes the lover of a person could not be tied down to just one partner, and his way of love meant everyone having multiple paramours.

The Princeton University professor was revealed to be sleeping with his official driver. This paramour caused his first wife to leave him, the court to rule in favor of his wife for who would take the kids, and his boss to fire him.

The fancy man had many illicit paramus throughout his life. He looked back on these young paramours fondly, and wished for simpler times.

What is the origin of the word paramour?

According to Etymonline, the word paramour has been used since the early 14th century to describe a lover or wooer of either sex in Anglo-Norman Middle English. This noun was taken from the adverbial phrase par amour, a phrase used around the year 1300. This means passionately, and comes from the Anglo-French and Old French par amour. This uses the accusative of the French amor meaning love from amare, a French verb meaning to love. This was originally used for Jesus Christ by women and the Virgin Mary by men. This phrase came to mean sweetheart in the mid-14th century and more generally to refer to a wife, husband, mistress, or concubine in the late 14th century. Except in poetry, this has been the only sense of the word used since the 17th century. Amor comes from the Latin amor, from Indo-European roots.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word paramour?

There are numerous different words that someone can use in place of the word paramour. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying not to repeat yourself, or if you are working on growing your vocabulary. This list of synonyms is provided by Thesaurus

  •  beau
  •  inamorato
  •  inamorata
  •  courtesan
  •  clandestine lover
  •  lover
  •  kept woman
  •  doxy
  •  courter
  •  concubine
  •  mistress
  •  escort
  •  fiancée
  •  girlfriend
  •  boyfriend
  •  fiancé
  •  darling
  •  steady
  •  admirer
  •  gallantry
  •  sweetheart

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word paramour. These opposite words are called antonyms, and are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary or knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word paramour is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  antagonist
  •  adversary
  •  disputant
  •  villain
  •  assailant
  •  opposition
  •  informer
  •  opponent
  •  prosecutor
  •  agent
  •  assassin
  •  guerrilla
  •  archenemy
  •  slanderer
  •  attacker
  •  terrorist
  •  backbiter
  •  revolutionary
  •  enemy
  •  criminal
  •  detractor
  •  betrayer
  •  saboteur
  •  vilifier
  •  falsifier
  •  spy
  •  defiler
  •  other side
  •  foe
  •  bad person
  •  rival
  •  inquisitor
  •  defamer
  •  seditionist
  •  calumniator
  •  fifth column
  •  bandit
  •  traitor
  •  contender
  •  emulator
  •  traducer
  •  competitor
  •  murderer
  •  asperser
  •  invader
  •  rebel

Overall, the word paramour means an illicit lover. While this used to have religious connotations and be used in a good sense, it now has negative connotations and the French word is used in a bad sense.

Sources: 

  1. PARAMOUR Synonyms: 18 Synonyms & Antonyms for PARAMOUR | Thesaurus 
  2. ENEMY Synonyms: 55 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENEMY | Thesaurus 
  3. paramour: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. paramour | Origin and meaning of paramour | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Paramour | Definition of Paramour | Merriam-Webster