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 On Thursday, the first protest held since the federal agencies agreed to pull back their officers was a markedly more peaceful affair. Washington Post, "Former KKK leader David Duke permanently banned from Twitter," 31 July 2020 The Spurs have split a pair of meetings with the Kings this season, winning a 105-104 overtime affair at the AT&T Center in December and losing 122-102 in Sacramento in February. Tom Orsborn,, "Spurs consider taking ‘stance’ during anthem," 30 July 2020 Production was by necessity a minimalist affair, but Amirpour brought a few key collaborators on board. Tyler Aquilina,, "Ana Lily Amirpour made a brilliant COVID-19 short for Netflix. It's unlike anything she's ever done," 29 June 2020 Strict emotional regulation is maintained over these relationships, which include a long affair with a married woman whose husband is affably acquiescent. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "Indulging with Control in Fiction," 24 June 2020 Dina Lohan announced her engagement to Jesse Nadler last month Dina Lohan is making her wedding a family affair! Claudia Harmata,, "Dina Lohan Says Daughters Lindsay, Aliana Will Be Her Maids of Honor at Wedding: They're 'Angels'," 13 July 2020 There has been one downside to converting the food distribution into a drive-thru affair. John Benson, cleveland, "Parma’s The Pantry at All Saints on the front lines of food distribution during a pandemic," 13 July 2020 Their combination somehow worked and they were married in 1970, a low-key affair at his apartment in Berkeley. Sam Whiting,, "Margy Wilkinson, Berkeley protester for 60 years, dies at home at 76," 12 July 2020 The new episode saw the couple addressing rumors that Pinkett Smith had an affair with singer-songwriter August Alsina with her husband's blessing. Tyler Aquilina,, "Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith's Red Table Talk shatters Facebook's 24-hour viewing record," 11 July 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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 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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