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 Throughout the exhibition, blood is a marker of authenticity and something that is both life affirming and disgusting. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 Since the door plug incident in January, Mr. Calhoun has repeatedly affirmed the company’s commitment to quality and safety. Niraj Chokshi, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2024 Two years later, the Georgia Supreme Court denied his appeal and affirmed all his convictions and sentences. Christopher Cann, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024 The company has affirmed that its payment services will continue past March 15, the RBI’s deadline for Paytm Payments Bank to cease operations. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune Asia, 10 Mar. 2024 There are strong arguments against disqualifying Trump, but none involve the historical record: the evidence of history supported affirming the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 10 Mar. 2024 My process of embracing my transness comes from gender euphoria, which means feeling affirmed and joyful about my gender identity. Caroline Colvin, Health, 9 Mar. 2024 Murray affirmed that even a case built for speed can be derailed by delays. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 3 Mar. 2024 Living on the Gulf Coast, access to gender affirming healthcare had always been a matter of distance. Hannah Murphy Winter, Rolling Stone, 1 Mar. 2024

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 13 Apr. 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

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