af·firm | \ə-ˈfərm \
affirmed; affirming; affirms

Definition of affirm 

transitive verb

1a : validate, confirm He was affirmed as a candidate.

b : to state positively He affirmed his innocence.

2 : to assert (something, such as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed The court affirmed his conviction.

3 : to show or express a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea) laws affirming the racial equality of all people

intransitive verb

1 : to testify or declare by affirmation (see affirmation sense 2) as distinguished from swearing an oath

2 : to uphold a judgment or decree of a lower court

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from affirm

affirmable \ə-ˈfər-mə-bəl \ adjective
affirmance \ə-ˈfər-mən(t)s \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for affirm

assert, declare, affirm, protest, avow mean to state positively usually in anticipation of denial or objection. assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence. asserted that modern music is just noise declare stresses open or public statement. declared her support for the candidate affirm implies conviction based on evidence, experience, or faith. affirmed the existence of an afterlife protest emphasizes affirming in the face of denial or doubt. protested that he really had been misquoted avow stresses frank declaration and acknowledgment of personal responsibility for what is declared. avowed that all investors would be repaid in full

Examples of affirm in a Sentence

We cannot affirm that this painting is genuine. They neither affirmed nor denied their guilt. laws affirming the racial equality of all peoples They continued to affirm their religious beliefs. The decision was affirmed by a higher court.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In February, representatives in Washington state reintroduced a bill to create a state portable benefits system; soon after, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi cosigned a public letter affirming the need for such a system. Miranda Katz, WIRED, "How an App Could Give Some Gig Workers a Safety Net," 9 July 2018 That guidance has now been rescinded, as have more than a half-dozen other similar documents, including some that sought to explain Supreme Court rulings affirming the use of race as one of several factors in the admissions process. Eric Tucker, Houston Chronicle, "Trump revokes Obama policy using race in school admissions," 3 July 2018 Amid the controversy surrounding the Indianapolis gym and Berger's tweets, the official CrossFit Twitter account posted multiple messages affirming its support for diversity and the LGBTQ community. Tim Fitzsimons /, NBC News, "CrossFit fires employee after '"pride" is a sin' tweet," 7 June 2018 Trans people fighting for gender affirming care face long waits and repeated insurance denials. CNN, "Settle in with these weekend reads," 2 June 2018 Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled on Monday that the once high-profile challenge to the governor's reorganization powers is now moot because the 2017 Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill affirming Bevin's order restructuring the board. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Judge allows pension board reorganization but tells Bevin 'Kentucky is not a police state'," 9 Jan. 2018 Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said the ruling affirmed that blanket sealing orders are not appropriate., "Court orders records unsealed in Penn State administrators' case surrounding Sandusky scandal," 4 June 2018 Galster said Martinez's visit affirms what students have already been learning in their classes about helping others through studying values such as generosity and gratitude, for example. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This Pewaukee school raised so much money for childhood cancer that Packer Blake Martinez stopped by to congratulate students," 18 May 2018 As Ars reported in August 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the April 2015 inter partes review (IPR) ruling—a process that allows anyone to challenge a patent’s validity at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Supreme Court declines to hear “podcasting patent” case, handing win to EFF," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affirm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of affirm

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for affirm

alteration (conformed to Latin affirmāre) of Middle English affermen "to fix firmly, make steadfast, establish, confirm, assert," borrowed from Anglo-French afermer, affermer, going back to Latin affirmāre "to strengthen, confirm, assert positively," from ad- ad- + firmāre "to strengthen, fortify," derivative of firmus "strong, durable, firm entry 1"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about affirm

Statistics for affirm

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affirm

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for affirm



English Language Learners Definition of affirm

: to say that something is true in a confident way

: to show a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea)

law : to decide that the judgment of another court is correct


af·firm | \ə-ˈfərm \
affirmed; affirming

Kids Definition of affirm

: to declare that something is true The man affirms that he is innocent.

af·firm | \ə-ˈfərm \

Legal Definition of affirm 

1 : to assert as true or factual

2 : to assert (as a judgment) as valid or confirmed affirmed the lower court's ruling — compare remand, reverse

intransitive verb

1 : to make a solemn declaration under the penalties of perjury in place of swearing an oath to which one conscientiously objects

2 : to uphold the judgment or actions of a lower court the appeals court affirmed

Other Words from affirm

affirmance \ə-ˈfər-məns \ noun
affirmation \ˌa-fər-ˈmā-shən \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on affirm

What made you want to look up affirm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!