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af·​flu·​ent ˈa-(ˌ)flü-ənt How to pronounce affluent (audio)
 also  a-ˈflü-,
 or  ə-
: having an abundance of goods or riches : wealthy
affluent families
our affluent society
: flowing in abundance
affluent streams
affluent creativity
affluently adverb


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: a tributary stream
… its meandering stream, one of the smaller affluents of the Sacramento.John Muir
[derivative of affluent entry 1] : a wealthy or affluent person
The affluents exhibit far less demographic diversity than is exhibited in any of the lower-income segments of the population.Pamela N. Danzinger

Did you know?

Visualize with us: coffers overflowing, a cash flow more than adequate, assets that are fluid. The image conjured is the essence of the word affluent. Based on Latin fluere, meaning "to flow," affluent is all about flow. (The same image is echoed in other fluere descendants, such as confluence, fluctuate, fluid, influence, mellifluous, and superfluous.) The flowing of goods or riches wasn't the word's first purview, however; 16th century print examples of affluent tend to be about the abundance of such intangibles as "goodness" and "spirit." In the 17th century, the flow suggested by affluent varied greatly: streams, poisons, estates, and blood were all described with the word. In modern use, affluent most often describes wealthy people, or places where wealthy people live.

Choose the Right Synonym for affluent

rich, wealthy, affluent, opulent mean having goods, property, and money in abundance.

rich implies having more than enough to gratify normal needs or desires.

became rich through shrewd investing

wealthy stresses the possession of property and intrinsically valuable things.

wealthy landowners

affluent suggests prosperity and an increasing wealth.

an affluent society

opulent suggests lavish expenditure and display of great wealth, more often applying to things than people.

an opulent mansion

Examples of affluent in a Sentence

Adjective The store catered to a mostly affluent clientele that was relatively price insensitive, so we could afford to pay our suppliers a premium for the very best fish. The shop also developed a significant wholesale business, and soon the great and the good of London gastronomy were flocking to our door. Frances Percival, Saveur, March 2008
A recent crop of books and articles give voice to this complaint. They happen to be written by journalists who are also well-educated and affluent mothers, but when it comes to parental discontent they are not alone. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Commonweal, 16 June 2006
The Bay Area, which encompasses the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, as well as surrounding areas, is one of the nation's most affluent regions: More than 40% of the area's residents have annual household income of at least $75,000, versus only 25% in the country's other top 50 markets, according to Scarborough Research. Eileen Davis Hudson et al., Editor & Publisher, 1 Oct. 2001
His family was more affluent than most. he is affluent and can afford to send his children to the best schools Noun the Nipigon and the St. Louis rivers are affluents of Lake Superior See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Each protagonist deals with complicated feelings of grief as their lives overlap, with the affluent Margaret (played by Nicole Kidman) serving as the story’s anchor. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 In technologically advanced and affluent communities, the learning transition was smoother than for the nation’s rural, low-income, and under-resourced areas already experiencing teacher shortages and limited or no high-speed internet connectivity. Raymond Pierce, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Elections that demand public declarations of fealty at specific dates and times—without options for mail-in or early voting—undercut democratic norms and, especially in Nevada, penalize hourly-wage workers who tend to be less affluent or white. TIME, 6 Feb. 2024 The elites of Baltimore’s Black professionals lived near each other in this segregated but fairly affluent community. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 3 Feb. 2024 The poorest districts received about $6,200 per student in aid, compared with $1,350 for the most affluent districts. Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2024 The series shows how Blanco targeted affluent, White Americans as cocaine customers, unlocking a vast and profitable market. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 These students were already at a disadvantage before the pandemic, according to experts, then suffered more than students in affluent school districts during Covid and are not rebounding as quickly. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 2 Feb. 2024 In this affluent, largely coastal district covering a large swath of Orange County, Democrats have a slight voter registration edge over Republicans. Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2024
During the pandemic, the luxury market thrived as the affluent—unfazed by price hikes—indulged in Birkin bags and rare watches. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 25 Dec. 2023 Some of these were made specifically to be entombed with the affluent, while others were used in rituals at ancestral altars, according to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 22 Dec. 2023 Those who live longest are whites, college graduates and the affluent. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 This is a big kick in the teeth to states with progressive tax codes where higher taxes on the affluent have been cushioned in the federal tax code, which allows such taxes to be itemized and deducted from federal taxable income. Andrea Louise Campbell, Foreign Affairs, 16 May 2017 While income gains were most pronounced for the affluent, the data showed clearly that Americans made nearly across-the-board financial progress in the three years that include the pandemic. Ben Casselman, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023 Tony shrugs off criticisms that the company caters only to the affluent to the exclusion of the 99 percent. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Oct. 2023 In tandem with the increasing standards of living that were beginning to cement a sense of personal privacy, especially among the affluent, came tighter and tighter spaces that commingled our noises. Curbed, 7 Aug. 2023 In theory, the affluent may live on one of these mini-campuses without leaving very often, certainly without engaging with the messiness of actual city life. Curbed, 10 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'affluent.' 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, "flowing in abundance, copious," borrowed from Latin affluent-, affluens "flowing with, abundant," present participle of affluere "to flow in, come streaming along, be abundantly present," from ad- ad- + fluere "to flow, run" — more at fluid entry 1


borrowed from French, borrowed from Latin affluent-, affluens "flowing in" — more at affluent entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of affluent was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near affluent

Cite this Entry

“Affluent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


 also  a-ˈflü-,
: having plenty of money and the things money can buy
affluently adverb


Middle English affluent "abundant," derived from Latin ad- "to" and fluere "to flow" — related to fluid

More from Merriam-Webster on affluent

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