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 The second and final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was a more sober affair than the rivals’ first encounter of the cycle. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Debate fact check: Where Trump, Biden claims land on COVID-19, fracking, race, more," 23 Oct. 2020 Thursday’s debate, held in Nashville, Tennessee, and moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was a more subdued affair than the first one, where the candidates often interrupted each other. Gerry Smith,, "Trump-Biden Audience Plummets in Second, Subdued Debate," 23 Oct. 2020 The result was a far less chaotic affair than the first debate, with both candidates being able to answer questions in a timely manner, and Welker has been widely praised on social media for her handling of the event. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'I'm jealous': Chris Wallace says he wishes chaotic first Trump-Biden debate mirrored final one," 22 Oct. 2020 The debate was, on the whole, a more restrained affair than the first encounter between the two candidates last month, when Mr. Trump harangued Mr. Biden for most of an hour and a half and effectively short-circuited any policy debate. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "In Calmer Debate, Biden and Trump Offer Sharply Different Visions for Nation," 22 Oct. 2020 Timbers-Sounders matches are always a special affair due to the tense rivalry that has gone back 45 years, and Thursday marked the 111th meeting between these two Cascadia sides. oregonlive, "Portland Timbers blow another lead, fail to overtake Seattle Sounders in standings," 22 Oct. 2020 And yes, that means this debate is an in-person affair. Caitlin Kelly, Wired, "How to Watch the Final 2020 Presidential Debate," 21 Oct. 2020 Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Princess Beatrice's wedding was a relatively private affair, with a selective guest list, so as to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Beatrice Gushes About Borrowing Her Wedding Gown from the Queen," 17 Oct. 2020 This year’s event will be a drive-through affair at the Mansfield Middle School on Saturday, Oct. 31., "Community News For The Windham Edition," 16 Oct. 2020

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

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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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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