af·​fect·​ing ə-ˈfek-tiŋ How to pronounce affecting (audio)
: evoking a strong emotional response
affectingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for affecting

moving, impressive, poignant, affecting, touching, pathetic mean having the power to produce deep emotion.

moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy.

a moving appeal for contributions

impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction.

an impressive list of achievements

poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities.

a poignant documentary on the homeless

affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos.

an affecting deathbed reunion

touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion.

the touching innocence in a child's eyes

pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt.

pathetic attempts to justify misconduct

Examples of affecting in a Sentence

He begins his book with an affecting description of his difficult childhood. the affecting final scene in the play, when the children are reunited with their father
Recent Examples on the Web The emotional underpinnings and conflicts in Rose’s story are explored in far more affecting ways during a few conversations in her waking hours. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Sep. 2023 Spare and blunt, but all the more affecting for it. Peter Rubin, Longreads, 29 Aug. 2023 Tears will inevitably be shed while exploring the collection, but perhaps the most affecting display comes at the end. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 23 Aug. 2023 This leads to one of the more affecting scenes in the film, when the teacher meets with Donald and Vicaria and suggests, of course, that Vicaria might be happier at a different school. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2023 This was less affecting than the previous sections; there simply wasn’t enough musical interest happening there besides the simple buildup. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2023 Not the cheeriest comedy, but one of the most affecting, Netflix’s showbiz satire found unexpected depths by juxtaposing animated, bipedal animals dealing with serious contemporary issues. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 16 June 2022 While Milligan is beguiling—at turns sassy and affecting—that can belie the fact that her path to Broadway has not been an easy one. Max Berlinger, Town & Country, 13 Apr. 2023 That must have been very affecting? Risa Sarachan, Forbes, 13 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'affecting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of affect entry 2

First Known Use

1720, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of affecting was in 1720

Dictionary Entries Near affecting

Cite this Entry

“Affecting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


af·​fect·​ing ə-ˈfek-tiŋ How to pronounce affecting (audio)
: causing a feeling of pity, sympathy, or sorrow
affectingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on affecting

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