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 Francis on Wednesday named Francesca Di Giovanni, a 27-year veteran of the Vatican, as undersecretary for multilateral affairs., "Pope names 1st woman manager in Vatican Secretariat of State," 15 Jan. 2020 Strauss wrote in a letter dated June 3, 1996, to OSU’s then vice-president for student affairs. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, "Former Ohio State fencing coach sounded alarm on abusive doctor decades ago," 12 Jan. 2020 BetMGM’s bookmakers are expecting a high-scoring affair, setting the Over/Under at 69.5 points. Ryan R. Bonini, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "2020 National Championship Game odds: LSU early favorite over Clemson," 9 Jan. 2020 Marshawn Wolley, a public affairs lecturer at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said those statistics are why the city needs a greater focus on addressing the issues plaguing black men in Indianapolis. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis homicides down for the first time in years. Here's why no one is celebrating.," 8 Jan. 2020 Though the occasion's roots might be a call for somber reflection and reverence, the tone of the whole affair, particularly at the end of December, was also one of celebration and homecoming. Jihan Forbes, Allure, "The Looks at Afrochella 2019 Show Just How Diverse the Afrocentric Aesthetic Is," 8 Jan. 2020 Before completing her journalism internship abroad in Shanghai, China, the 21-year-old was a public affairs intern for the Kentucky Association of Counties. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Beauty, style and grace. Meet the 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court," 6 Jan. 2020 Brandon Smith, a Social Security public affairs specialist, will conduct this educational outreach. cleveland, "Sledding is a hit on New Year’s Day: Olmsted Dates and Data," 3 Jan. 2020 In the years since, Mr. Courtovich, a public-affairs consultant, hosted dozens of lavish parties. Brody Mullins, WSJ, "When the Party’s Over: Washington’s Premier Social Connector Fades From View," 2 Jan. 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

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 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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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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