verb af·ford \ ə-ˈfȯrd \
|Updated on: 6 Aug 2018

Definition of afford

afforded; affording; affords
1 a : 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

Examples of afford in a Sentence

  1. We were too poor to afford a doctor.

  2. He'll be able to afford a house next year.

  3. Don't spend more than you can afford.

  4. They couldn't afford new coats for the children.

  5. We can afford waiting a while longer.

  6. All of the rooms afford views of the lake.

  7. He was afforded the opportunity to work for a judge.

Recent Examples of afford from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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-, 1forth

Synonym Discussion of afford

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

AFFORD Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of afford for English Language Learners

  • : to be able to pay for (something)

  • : to be able to do (something) without having problems or being seriously harmed

  • : to supply or provide (something needed or wanted) to someone

AFFORD Defined for Kids


verb af·ford \ ə-ˈfȯrd \

Definition of afford for Students

afforded; affording
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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very hard to disturb or upset

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