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 So needless to say, the new Netflix show—about a psychiatrist, David, who has an affair with his secretary, Louise, while his wife Adele/soul twin Rob plots against them via astral projection—is a wild ride. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "'Behind Her Eyes' Season 2: Everything We Know," 19 Feb. 2021 Paul gave $25,000 to Paxton's 2018 reelection campaign and employs a woman with whom the attorney general allegedly had an extramarital affair, but the full nature of their relationship remains unclear. Jake Bleiberg, Star Tribune, "FBI probe of Texas AG expands to look at home renovations," 12 Feb. 2021 Four years after Andrei was born, Arseny had an affair and abandoned the family. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Drenching Richness of Andrei Tarkovsky," 8 Feb. 2021 Spangler allegedly had an affair with the man while her husband was stationed overseas. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "The Missing Star Spangler Girl: Inside the chilling, still unsolved disappearance of Jean Spangler," 23 Jan. 2021 The outside lawyers' contracts put a price tag on the fallout from Paxton's deputies accusing him of crimes in the service of a wealthy donor who employs a woman with whom the attorney general allegedly had an extramarital affair. Jake Bleiberg, ajc, "After top staff exodus, Texas AG seeks $43M for Google suit," 5 Jan. 2021 Another theory being investigated is that the former nightclub performer had an affair with a wealthy politician whose wife discovered the secret relationship, according to East2West. Fox News, "Chilling video captures Russian dancer killed by masked assassin," 29 Dec. 2020 Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton’s re-election campaign in 2018, and Paul employed a woman with whom Paxton had an extramarital affair, sources told The News. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "A dead animal and a warning: Texas AG Ken Paxton spars with campaign donor over alleged text threats," 11 Dec. 2020 In the telenovela-style thriller, a woman has an affair with a stranger in a nightclub and the fallout includes a dead body in a bathtub. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "What Netflix’s Lists of Top Foreign Movies and TV Series Say About American Taste," 10 Dec. 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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for affair



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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