affinity

1 of 2

noun

af·​fin·​i·​ty ə-ˈfi-nə-tē How to pronounce affinity (audio)
plural affinities
1
: relationship by marriage
2
a
: 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 darknessMark Twain
pork and fennel have a natural affinity for each otherAbby 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
3
a
: likeness based on relationship or causal connection
found an affinity between the teller of a tale and the craftsmanMary McCarthy
this investigation, with affinities to a case history, a psychoanalysis, a detective storyOliver Sacks
b
: a relation between biological groups involving resemblance in structural plan and indicating a common origin

affinity

2 of 2

adjective

chemistry : of, relating to, involving, or used in affinity chromatography
The unwanted antibodies are removed in affinity columns, which contain a matrix to which other antibodies have already been allowed to bind …Scientific American
Although affinity labeling was originally developed for the investigation of enzymes, it has also added significantly to the study of the structure of active sites in other systems …Meir Wilchek et al.
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

Noun 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Arsht attributes her perseverance and her affinity for helping others to growing up with Jewish parents in Wilmington, Delaware. Michael Butler, Miami Herald, 11 Apr. 2024 His affinity for the craft of smoking meats earned him his nickname. Jenna Thompson, Kansas City Star, 10 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for affinity 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1962, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near affinity

Cite this Entry

“Affinity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affinity. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

affinity

noun
af·​fin·​i·​ty ə-ˈfin-ət-ē How to pronounce affinity (audio)
plural affinities
1
: relationship by marriage
2
a
: a feeling of closeness or sympathy because of shared interests
b
: attraction
especially : an attractive force between substances or particles that causes them to enter into and remain in chemical combination

Medical Definition

affinity

noun
af·​fin·​i·​ty ə-ˈfin-ət-ē How to pronounce affinity (audio)
plural affinities
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

Legal Definition

affinity

noun
af·​fin·​i·​ty ə-ˈfi-nə-tē How to pronounce affinity (audio)
plural affinities
: relationship by marriage compare consanguinity

More from Merriam-Webster on affinity

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