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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Moldova's top court affirmed a decision to void the results of a June 3 runoff between two mayoral candidates in Chisinau. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Moldovan prime minister says his government is victim in election chaos that blocked rival from office," 27 June 2018 The council approved raising waste removal rates; and affirmed the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the Grandview Pointe project at Melrose Drive and Oceanside Boulevard. Laura Groch,, "How they voted, June 24," 24 June 2018 Last month, a federal appeals court affirmed a 2016 decision by US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel that the parishes and other nonprofit entities were independent, meaning their assets could not be tapped in the bankruptcy case. Steve Karnowski,, "St. Paul archdiocese reaches $210M clergy sex abuse deal," 31 May 2018 Last month, a federal appeals court affirmed a December 2017 decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel that the parishes and other nonprofit entities were independent, and their assets could not be exposed in the bankruptcy case. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "Twin Cities archdiocese to pay $210 million to priest sex abuse victims," 31 May 2018 The federal district court dismissed the suit, and the court of appeals affirmed the decision. Jack Greiner,, "Bill Cosby accuser Katherine McKee seeks her day in Supreme Court," 1 May 2018 Jones lost her federal lawsuit and appealed to an appeals court in 2016, which affirmed the lower court’s decision. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Supreme Court May Have to Decide if Banning Dreadlocks Is Racist," 24 Apr. 2018 Combining elements of world music with electronic sounds and beats, the London collective hit upon a distinctive, life-affirming sound that brought significant European success and spawned a host of imitators. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Transglobal Underground's electro-worldbeat to brighten Concert of Colors," 12 July 2018 The rest of the trailer is basically a montage of tear-jerking/life-affirming moments. Emily Wang, Glamour, "The Trailer for the This Is Us Creator's New Movie Is Already Making Us Sob," 10 July 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.

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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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Statistics for affirm

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affirm

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

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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

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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).


to make amends

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