af·​fair | \ ə-ˈfer How to pronounce affair (audio) \

Definition of affair

1a affairs plural : commercial, professional, public, or personal business handles the company's public affairs an expert in foreign affairs
b : matter, concern How I choose to live is my affair, not yours.
2 : a procedure, action, or occasion only vaguely specified also : an object or collection of objects only vaguely specified Their house was a 2-story affair.
3 or less commonly affaire
a : a romantic or passionate attachment typically of limited duration : liaison sense 2b had an affair with a coworker
b : a matter occasioning public anxiety, controversy, or scandal : case the Watergate affair of the early 1970s

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Examples of affair in a Sentence

After the war, the government focused on its own domestic affairs. They accused the U.S. of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. How I choose to live is my affair, not yours. adulterous affairs between married men and single women
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Recent Examples on the Web Since 2008, the Grammy-winner’s father has served as the permanent conservator of her affairs and estate. Darlene Aderoju,, "Britney Spears Has ‘Good Contact’ with Her Sons After Family Drama: ‘She Seems Happier’," 2 Dec. 2019 China has denounced the legislation as gross interference in its affairs and a violation of international law. NBC News, "Trump approves legislation backing Hong Kong protesters," 27 Nov. 2019 The upscale affair will bring together metro Detroit’s mustached elite with local artists and musicians who have donated their time and talent for an evening of fund-raising for individuals affected by men’s health issues. Greg Crawford,, "Detroit's Top 10: Cool things to do this weekend, including Pete Davidson, Willow and Jaden Smith, Eric D'Alessandro," 27 Nov. 2019 Neither of the brothers knew what was about to happen to the family, to their city, or to the other Jews who made up most of its population and ran its affairs. Matti Friedman, New York Times, "Meet the Levy Family. Their History Is Our History.," 19 Nov. 2019 In other news: The co-chairs for the iconic fashion affair were announced, too: actresses Emma Stone and Meryl Streep, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Louis Vuitton's creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About the Met Gala 2020 Theme," 8 Nov. 2019 Indeed, as Hong Kong itself is being torn apart by the question of China’s role in its affairs, the local film industry is dealing with the same issue. Karen Chu, The Hollywood Reporter, "Can Hong Kong’s Film Sector Stand Up to China?," 7 Nov. 2019 Really think through your lifestyle and the state of your affairs. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "Jennifer Lawrence Is Taking a Loss on Her NYC Apartment—Here’s How Not to Avoid Her Mistake," 4 Nov. 2019 For his part, Easterbrook, 52, admitted that the affair with an unnamed employee was a mistake. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "McDonald’s, called out as a MeToo laggard, fired its CEO for an improper relationship," 4 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affair.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of affair

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for affair

Middle English aferes "activities," affaire "enterprise," borrowed from Anglo-French afaire, affere "business, activity, enterprise, matter, topic, situation," from the phrase a faire "to do," from a "to" (going back to Latin ad) + faire "to do," going back to Latin facere — more at at entry 1, do entry 1

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Time Traveler for affair

Time Traveler

The first known use of affair was in the 14th century

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Statistics for affair

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for affair


How to pronounce affair (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of affair

: work or activities done for a purpose : commercial, professional, public, or personal business
: a matter that concerns or involves someone
: a secret sexual relationship between two people


af·​fair | \ ə-ˈfer How to pronounce affair (audio) \

Kids Definition of affair

1 affairs plural : work or activities done for a purpose : business government affairs
2 : something that relates to or involves someone His problem is no affair of mine.
3 : a social event or activity The party was to be a simple affair.

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More from Merriam-Webster on affair

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for affair

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with affair

Spanish Central: Translation of affair

Nglish: Translation of affair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affair for Arabic Speakers

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