af·fair | \ə-ˈfer \

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

David Lazarus David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times, focusing on consumer affairs. David Lazarus,, "When companies say a merger will result in lower prices, try laughing in their face," 10 July 2018 The first two follow women negotiating motherhood and an affair, respectively; the latter centers on what is essentially a perverted stay-at-home dad. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018 The Republican sponsors include the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, and the chairman of the Indian and insular affairs subcommittee, Rep. Doug Lamalfa of California. CBS News, "Puerto Rico introduces bill in Congress seeking statehood by 2021," 27 June 2018 The couple, who met and fell in love on the set of Game Of Thrones in 2012, are preparing for a fancy affair at Leslie's family castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland., "Kit Harington & Rose Leslie's Upcoming Wedding Is The Only Royal Union That Matters," 22 June 2018 The annual gathering has typically been a low-key affair highlighting such things as voter registration and balloting devices. CBS News, "Top state election officials meet amid security concerns," 14 July 2018 This movie was also a family affair, as Highmore's brother Bertie played the role of his younger brother in the film. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "How Freddie Highmore Went From Child Actor to Star of 'The Good Doctor'," 11 July 2018 Both show that winning is a brutal, perilous, and risky affair. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—AT&T Risking HBO Franchise With Corporate Pressure," 10 July 2018 The forging of a katana was an intricate and ritualized affair. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018

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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Statistics for affair

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for affair

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

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More Definitions for affair



English Language Learners Definition of affair

affairs : 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 \

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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Comments on affair

What made you want to look up affair? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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