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

Celebrity couples took complementary outfits to the next level, matching their looks both on the red carpet—glitzy black tie affairs and all—as well as in their everyday lives. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Fashion-Forward Couples Who Dominated 2018," 29 Nov. 2018 But the past four games between the two have been hard-hitting, rugged affairs and usually not decided until late in the game. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Pac-12 championship the next step in UW’s short — but intense — rivalry with Utah," 28 Nov. 2018 Tonight's formal affair celebrates the visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who are staying at Buckingham Palace during the trip. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Is Covered in Jewels for a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace," 23 Oct. 2018 Trump has denied the affair allegations but acknowledges a hush-money payment was made. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Michael Avenatti ordered by judge to hand over $4.85 million in back pay to attorney at his former law firm," 23 Oct. 2018 After all, clandestine affairs can only be fun for so long. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's September 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 Aug. 2018 The film retells the true story of Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988, which was thrown off course when he was caught having an extramarital affair. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Molly Ephraim Cast in First Major Role Since 'Last Man Standing' Exit," 27 Oct. 2018 This creepy holiday can often get lost in the shuffle of trick-or-treating and school parties, which is why chef to the stars, Meg Hall, recommends throwing a more refined affair with these delicious and festive recipes. Alexis Jones, Redbook, "The Best Halloween Food Ideas for Your Adult Gathering," 2 Aug. 2018 The season, a bloody and violent affair, completely wrapped up the events of Morgan’s 2002 novel. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Netflix has renewed Altered Carbon for a second season," 27 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

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on affair

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with affair

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for affair

Spanish Central: Translation of affair

Nglish: Translation of affair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affair for Arabic Speakers

Comments on affair

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to enclose within walls

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