af·​fin·​i·​ty | \ə-ˈfi-nə-tē \
plural affinities

Definition of affinity 

1 : relationship by marriage

2a : sympathy marked by community of interest : kinship She has an affinity to him because of their common musical interests.

b(1) : an attraction to or liking for something people with an affinity to darkness— Mark Twain pork and fennel have a natural affinity for each other— Abby Mandel

(2) : an attractive force between substances or particles that causes them to enter into and remain in chemical combination

c : a person especially of the opposite sex having a particular attraction for one

3a : likeness based on relationship or causal connection found an affinity between the teller of a tale and the craftsman— Mary McCarthy this investigation, with affinities to a case history, a psychoanalysis, a detective story— Oliver Sacks

b : a relation between biological groups involving resemblance in structural plan and indicating a common origin

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Choose the Right Synonym for affinity

attraction, affinity, sympathy mean the relationship existing between things or persons that are naturally or involuntarily drawn together. attraction implies the possession by one thing of a quality that pulls another to it. felt an attraction to danger affinity implies a susceptibility or predisposition on the part of the one drawn. an affinity for mathematics sympathy implies a reciprocal or natural relation between two things that are both susceptible to the same influence. two minds in sympathy

Examples of affinity in a Sentence

Jefferson's personal debts continued to mount …  . His addiction to French wine, like his affinity for French ideas, never came to grips with the more mundane realities. — Joseph J. Ellis, American Heritage, May/June 1993 … neither virus has an affinity for T cells. — Robert C. Gallo, Scientific American, 1987 Animals sharing this basic architecture may have no closer affinity than a beetle and a squid. — Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, 1985 There's always been an affinity between us. He never felt any affinity with the other kids in his neighborhood.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The 21-year-old, who recently wore this red-hot two piece to Jordyn Woods' birthday party, has an affinity for body-con clothing and isn't afraid to show off her silhouette. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Loved Her Vex Clothing Minidress So Much, She Took Multiple Photos for the 'Gram," 8 Oct. 2018 In a league full of flashy stars, Anthony has stuck with his cool and straight-forward style, highlighted by his affinity for slim-fit suits, hats and crew neck sweaters. Jamie Lisanti,, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 Tony voters have proved an affinity for Elliott’s work, though. Craig Nakano,, "Marianne Elliott, the British director who sent 'Angels in America' back into flight," 7 June 2018 The survey also suggests that Lebanese voters have undeniable sectarian affinities, over and above material considerations. Amanda Rizkallah, Washington Post, "What can we learn from Lebanon’s elections?," 11 May 2018 The character's affinity for Trump, both on-air (as Roseanne Conner) and off (as Roseanne Barr), doesn't fit the city in real life either, residents said. Adam Edelman /, NBC News, "Heartland humor in a diverse America: The city that inspired 'Roseanne' has changed," 16 Apr. 2018 Simmons is still a huge Buckeye fan and has an affinity for this area of the country, giving the commencement address at the University of Montana in 2014. Dave Southorn, idahostatesman, "What famous folks might each school bring to Boise for March Madness? | Idaho Statesman," 13 Mar. 2018 Food writing springs from an affinity, not an affliction. Leah Eskin, charlotteobserver, "How to turn tabbouleh into a hefty wintry dish | Charlotte Observer," 7 Feb. 2018 Writing about the past is a way of placing oneself in a lineage defined not by blood but by affinity, that more mysterious thing. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "A Novel of Sex and Secrecy," 10 Oct. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affinity.' 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 affinity

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for affinity

Middle English affinite, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French affinité, borrowed from Latin affīnitāt-, affīnitās, from affīnis "bordering (on), related by marriage, connected (with)" (from ad- ad- + fīnis "boundary, limit") + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at final entry 1

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Statistics for affinity

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affinity

The first known use of affinity was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for affinity



English Language Learners Definition of affinity

: a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests

: a liking for or an attraction to something

: a quality that makes people or things suited to each other


af·​fin·​i·​ty | \ə-ˈfi-nə-tē \
plural affinities

Kids Definition of affinity

: a strong liking for or attraction to someone or something They had much in common and felt a close affinity.


af·​fin·​i·​ty | \ə-ˈfin-ət-ē \
plural affinities

Medical Definition of affinity 

1 : an attractive force between substances or particles that causes them to enter into and remain in chemical combination

2 : a relation between biological groups involving resemblance in structural plan and indicating a common origin

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af·​fin·​i·​ty | \ə-ˈfi-nə-tē \
plural affinities

Legal Definition of affinity 

: relationship by marriage — compare consanguinity

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More from Merriam-Webster on affinity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with affinity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for affinity

Spanish Central: Translation of affinity

Nglish: Translation of affinity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affinity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on affinity

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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