af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio) \
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

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Other Words from affirm

affirmable \ ə-​ˈfər-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce affirmable (audio) \ adjective
affirmance \ ə-​ˈfər-​mən(t)s How to pronounce affirmance (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Two officials maintained that Mr. Trump had been tested before the presidential debate, but the White House has yet to affirm that. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump’s Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Infections Jolt West Wing," 6 Oct. 2020 Instead of being forced to affirm a stable falsehood, we have been flooded by a deluge of chaotic mental garbage for the past four years that has left us drowning in an epistemological quagmire. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "Trump's anti-leadership in the pandemic," 5 Oct. 2020 Kipchoge belongs to that rare category of athlete whose dominance seems to affirm a supernatural order. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "Eliud Kipchoge’s Streak Comes to an End in London," 5 Oct. 2020 The strategy was employed to dramatize the unequal application of the law and to affirm the peaceful disobedience of this enterprise. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "Where Does Black Lives Matter Go from Here?," 3 Sep. 2020 Residents who have lost income due to the coronavirus would have 15 days after receiving an eviction notice to affirm that to their landlord under penalty of perjury. Alexei Koseff,, "California tenants hurt by pandemic would get five-month eviction break under new bill," 28 Aug. 2020 The Garrett announcement was included in a list of actions intended to affirm the university's commitment to diversity and equity in the wake of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Michael Reschke, The Indianapolis Star, "IU president announces his intent to retire in 2021," 14 Aug. 2020 Second—notwithstanding a mountain of evidence that most people do not vote on the basis of such things—debates affirm the importance of plans and ideas. The Economist, "Lexington The end of the debate," 30 Sep. 2020 The outcome of the two-plus years spent in the dispute resolution process will only affirm the administration's hostility toward the WTO. Jon Healey, Star Tribune, "World Trade Organization, in ruling for China, bares its toothless gums," 17 Sep. 2020

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.

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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"

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Time Traveler for affirm

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for affirm

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affirm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for affirm


How to pronounce affirm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of affirm

formal : to say that something is true in a confident way
formal : 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 How to pronounce affirm (audio) \
affirmed; affirming

Kids Definition of affirm

: to declare that something is true The man affirms that he is innocent.
af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio) \

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 How to pronounce affirmance (audio) \ noun
affirmation \ ˌa-​fər-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce affirmation (audio) \ noun

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