X was left at the altar [figuratively] or [literally]?

High on grammar

Senior Member
Farsi
Hello everyone:

When you say that someone was “left at the altar”, does it mean that he or she was actually at the altar waiting for the person to show up, but they never did? Or can it be used without necessarily referring to a wedding in progress?

Thanks
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It can be used literally or figuratively. If it refers to a person not getting married then somebody didn't turn up for the wedding. If it refers to a withdrawn takeover bid for one company to buy another, then clearly nobody was at an altar.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    What idiom should I use if I were referring a wedding that was canceled before the big day?

    Can I say [She was jilted by her fiancé.]?

    Fill in the blank:

    She was ………..

    Thanks
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, you could use "jilted" in that situation. That is, if he was the one who decided that they would not marry.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    We might also say that her fiancé got cold feet before the wedding. This is quite a common expression, but of course doesn't fit into your structure.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    To get all of the intended meaning in, it would be easier to write an active sentence than to find an appropriate adjective.
    Her fiance broke off their engagement just before the wedding.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The definition of "jilt" is "cast aside a lover or sweetheart, abruptly or unfeelingly".

    It implies ending a relationship.
    It implies trickery: the jilted person didn't expect the relationship to suddenly end.

    It does not imply which person (male or female) did this.
    It does not imply that a marriage was planned for this relationship.

    If you want it to imply "a relationship leading to marriage", you need to add words.
    If you want it to imply "just before a planned wedding" you must add words.
     
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