affinity

noun
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

Musk has shown an affinity for questions that focus on Tesla’s future rather than its present. Kirsten Korosec, The Verge, "Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting will decide Elon Musk’s future," 5 June 2018 Meanwhile, Scoot is expanding for the first time outside San Francisco by bringing 1,000 e-bikes and 500 mopeds to Barcelona, Spain, a city of 1.7 million with a strong affinity for motor bikes and motor scooters. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Scoot’s e-bike sharing plan hits bureaucratic wall in SF," 30 May 2018 So far, the Trump administration has shown no real affinity for blue-state California in general, or for the idea of subsidizing mass transit in particular. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Will Unfinished Train Overpasses Become California’s Stonehenge?," 25 Jan. 2018 But Hyon’s troupe, made up of young North Korean women known for their beauty, is expected to steal the Olympic show among South Koreans, many of whom detest the North Korean regime but feel ethnic affinity for their northern neighbors. Choe Sang-hun, The Seattle Times, "Media frenzy greets popular North Korean singer leading delegation to South," 21 Jan. 2018 Japanese of all ages feel more affinity with South Koreans than with Chinese; South Koreans in their 20s have warmer feelings towards the Japanese than the Chinese, unlike older people. The Economist, "K-pop v historyDespite diplomatic rows, Japan and South Korea are growing closer," 18 Jan. 2018 Theories have abounded for decades that viruses might be involved in Alzheimer’s, especially herpes viruses, which have a special affinity for nerve cells. NBC News, "Childhood virus HHV linked with Alzheimer's decades later," 21 June 2018 In terms of the kind of content, Henick said Facebook was looking at all genres — from drama to live sports — but that unscripted and reality series had a special affinity to the platform. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "MIPTV: Advertising, Non-Scripted Key to Facebook's TV Strategy," 9 Apr. 2018 Mr Lynch betrays an affinity for spirituality, numerology, conspiracy theories and fate. The Economist, "David Lynch’s memoir illuminates the origins of his art," 14 June 2018

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

5 Nov 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

affinity

noun

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

affinity

noun
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.

affinity

noun
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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affinity

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

Legal Definition of affinity 

: relationship by marriage — compare consanguinity

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Comments on affinity

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