af·​flu·​ence ˈa-(ˌ)flü-ən(t)s How to pronounce affluence (audio)
a-ˈflü- How to pronounce affluence (audio)
 or  ə-
: abundance of property : wealth
rose from poverty to affluence
: an abundant flow or supply : profusion
… to attain that breadth and height, that wealth of muscle, that affluence of flesh.Charlotte Brontë
: a flowing to or toward a point : influx

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What is the origin of affluence?

Affluence comes from the Latin verb affluere, "to flow abundantly". Thus, someone or something blessed with affluence has received an incoming flood of riches. Since the affluent residents of suburbs often work in the central city but pay taxes back home, the wealth of some metropolitan areas tends to flow in one direction—out.

Examples of affluence in a Sentence

this affluence of new students is straining an already crowded school system
Recent Examples on the Web With great subversiveness, Portis consistently abjured America’s postwar fetishes for progress, social mobility and affluence. Elizabeth Nelson, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2023 Instead, those choices draw on countless factors, including childhood experiences, geographic and societal influences, affluence, and emotions. Renee Marie Schettler, Outside Online, 3 Apr. 2023 With its large population and affluence, Japan is among the largest subscription video markets in Asia and streamers such as Netflix have announced plans to increase their spending on Japanese content. Patrick Frater, Variety, 11 Sep. 2023 College seemed like a reliable runway to a life of comfort and affluence. Paul Tough, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Poor people were those shut out of middle-class affluence. Kim Phillips-Fein, The New Republic, 28 Aug. 2023 For example, Jeanette May’s Dot Matrix, from the series Tech Vanitas, plays on the vanitas paintings of the Netherlands in the 17th century, which juxtaposed the inevitability of death with the trappings of affluence. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Aug. 2023 For example, a 1968 Life cover lambasted baby boomers for their living in affluence. Mauro F. Guillén, Fortune, 21 Aug. 2023 And prices on the entry-level models have dropped significantly, to the point where robot vacuums are now an accessible, convenient household tool instead of a statement of bougie affluence or a potential cat car. WIRED, 24 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, "abundance, profusion," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin affluentia, noun derivative of affluent-, affluens affluent entry 1 — more at -ence

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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

Dictionary Entries Near affluence

Cite this Entry

“Affluence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


af·​flu·​ence ˈaf-ˌlü-ən(t)s How to pronounce affluence (audio)
a-ˈflü- How to pronounce affluence (audio)
: the state of having much wealth or property

More from Merriam-Webster on affluence

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