affinity

noun
af·​fin·​i·​ty | \ ə-ˈfi-nə-tē How to pronounce affinity (audio) \
plural affinities

Definition of affinity

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

affinity

adjective

Definition of affinity (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

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Choose the Right Synonym for affinity

Noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One of the welcome tables featured signs for affinity groups. Fred Bahnson, Harpers Magazine, "The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere," 5 Jan. 2021 Google has also added corporate moderators to many of its internal affinity groups as a way to reduce strife. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "Google Employees Form Union to Push for Changes," 4 Jan. 2021 Charyn, who at 83 has had a remarkably prolific career, has an affinity for literary sphinxes. Washington Post, "By the end of 2020, we were supposed to have more J.D. Salinger. Instead we have ‘Sergeant Salinger.’," 31 Dec. 2020 Noticeably, Nicole Kidman’s quiet character had an affinity for some major flare. The T&c Fashion Editors, Town & Country, "The Biggest Fashion Moments from 2020," 28 Dec. 2020 Americans' affinity with McDonald's starts at an early age; when parents drive their kids to the nearest McDonald's. Ahmed Tharwat, Star Tribune, "Happy Meal memories: An immigrant's tale," 24 Dec. 2020 Her mother had an affinity for American designers of the ’70s, such as Stephen Burrows, Geoffrey Beene, and Norma Kamali, which sparked Haroutounian’s obsession with clothes. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This 22-Year-Old Is Paying for College by Selling Rare Vintage on Depop," 22 Dec. 2020 Growing up amid the hundreds of lakes and vast beech, maple, and birch tree forests of northern Wisconsin's Vilas County, Dr. Tim Frandy, 42, always had an affinity for the outdoors. Laura Kiniry, Condé Nast Traveler, "What We Can Learn From the Sámi Tradition of Reading Snow," 2 Dec. 2020 Despite their different priorities, the three shared a vision of India that preserved its historic heterogeneity, where secularism meant not an absence of religion from the public sphere but a benign, if sometimes mushy, affinity for all faiths. New York Times, "India’s Leading Documentary Filmmaker Has a Warning," 1 Dec. 2020

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1962, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for affinity

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

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Learn More about affinity

Time Traveler for affinity

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for affinity

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Affinity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affinity. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for affinity

affinity

noun
How to pronounce affinity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of affinity

formal
: 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 How to pronounce affinity (audio) \
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 How to pronounce affinity (audio) \
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 How to pronounce affinity (audio) \
plural affinities

Legal Definition of affinity

: relationship by marriage — compare consanguinity

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Comments on affinity

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