af·​firm ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio)
affirmed; affirming; affirms

transitive verb

: validate, confirm
He was affirmed as a candidate.
: to state positively
He affirmed his innocence.
: to assert (something, such as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed
The court affirmed his conviction.
: 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

: to testify or declare by affirmation (see affirmation sense 2) as distinguished from swearing an oath
: to uphold a judgment or decree of a lower court
affirmable adjective
affirmance 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.
Recent Examples on the Web To that end, the West should secure Turkey’s position in NATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights, affirming its commitment to long-term cooperation with Ankara. Asli Aydintasbas, Foreign Affairs, 6 June 2024 The former president sat frozen in his seat for the entire time, not appearing to acknowledge the jury, even as each of the twelve New Yorkers individually affirmed their verdict. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 31 May 2024 Alex Abdo, the litigation director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, noted that the ruling made a critical distinction in affirming the free speech rights of advocacy groups. Abbie Vansickle, New York Times, 30 May 2024 The country’s top court in January affirmed an administrative decision blocking Ms. Machado’s candidacy. Regina Garcia Cano, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for affirm 

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

Word History


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"

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near affirm

Cite this Entry

“Affirm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


af·​firm ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio)
: to state positively or with confidence

Legal Definition


transitive verb
af·​firm ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio)
: to assert as true or factual
: to assert (as a judgment) as valid or confirmed
affirmed the lower court's ruling
compare remand, reverse

intransitive verb

: to make a solemn declaration under the penalties of perjury in place of swearing an oath to which one conscientiously objects
: to uphold the judgment or actions of a lower court
the appeals court affirmed
affirmance noun
affirmation noun

More from Merriam-Webster on affirm

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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