af·​ford | \ ə-ˈfȯrd How to pronounce afford (audio) \
afforded; affording; affords

Definition of afford

transitive verb

1a : to manage to bear without serious detriment You can't afford to neglect your health.
b : to be able to bear the cost of can't afford to be out of work long
2 : to make available, give forth, or provide naturally or inevitably The sun affords warmth to the earth. a delay that will afford us more time

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Synonyms for afford


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give, present, donate, bestow, confer, afford mean to convey to another as a possession. give, the general term, is applicable to any passing over of anything by any means. give alms gave her a ride on a pony give my love to your mother present carries a note of formality and ceremony. present an award donate is likely to imply a publicized giving (as to charity). donate a piano to the orphanage bestow implies the conveying of something as a gift and may suggest condescension on the part of the giver. bestow unwanted advice confer implies a gracious giving (as of a favor or honor). confer an honorary degree afford implies a giving or bestowing usually as a natural or legitimate consequence of the character of the giver. the trees afford shade a development that affords us some hope

Examples of afford in a Sentence

We were too poor to afford a doctor. He'll be able to afford a house next year. Don't spend more than you can afford. They couldn't afford new coats for the children. We can afford waiting a while longer. All of the rooms afford views of the lake. He was afforded the opportunity to work for a judge.
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Recent Examples on the Web Democrats have coalesced around the idea that pushing back on such measures is a modern-day civil rights battle that the party cannot afford to lose. New York Times, "Democrats Splinter Over Strategy for Pushing Through Voting Rights Bill," 30 Mar. 2021 In recruitment, the Rangers can’t afford to rely on anything other than this simple case: The club is going to be ready to contend long-term within no more than a year and the gross financial outlay will be the most on market. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "When the Rangers are ready to contend, will big-name free agents be ready to sign?," 29 Mar. 2021 To be fair, the Dan Duquette regime did plenty of that and did it well, so the Orioles can afford to balance things out. Jon Meoli,, "Is the Orioles’ rebuild on track? From prospects to player development to scouting, here’s where things stand.," 29 Mar. 2021 Yet the threadbare states still can't afford adequate public services for their poorer populations. D.j. Tice, Star Tribune, "You know the story on Minnesota's taxing, spending results — don't you?," 27 Mar. 2021 But mail industry experts worry that degrading service standards could chase away businesses that can no longer afford or tolerate slower, more expensive delivery., "Democrats introduce ‘DeJoy Act’ in opening salvo against USPS leader’s mail-slowing plan," 26 Mar. 2021 But mail industry experts worry that degrading service standards could chase away businesses that can no longer afford or tolerate slower, more expensive delivery. Washington Post, "Democrats introduce ‘DeJoy Act’ in opening salvo against USPS leader’s mail-slowing plan," 26 Mar. 2021 The purchases afford them hundreds of extra shots every week. Sofia Moutinho, Science | AAAS, "Syringe size and supply issues continue to waste COVID-19 vaccine doses in United States," 26 Mar. 2021 Never mind that Dustin works as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and could never afford the $10,000 to bring everyone. Steve Hartman, CBS News, "His mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So he raised enough money to take her on the trip of a lifetime.," 26 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'afford.' 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 afford

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

History and Etymology for afford

respelling (after Latin borrowings with initial aff-) of Middle English iforthen, aforthen, going back to Old English geforðian "to send out, promote, carry out," from ge-, perfective prefix + forðian "to send out, promote," verbal derivative of forþ "forth, forward" — more at co-, forth entry 1

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Time Traveler for afford

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

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Statistics for afford

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Afford.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for afford



English Language Learners Definition of afford

: to be able to pay for (something)
: to be able to do (something) without having problems or being seriously harmed
formal : to supply or provide (something needed or wanted) to someone


af·​ford | \ ə-ˈfȯrd How to pronounce afford (audio) \
afforded; affording

Kids Definition of afford

1 : to be able to do or bear without serious harm You cannot afford to waste your strength.
2 : to be able to pay for I can't afford a new car.
3 : to supply or provide someone with Tennis affords good exercise.

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