af·ford | \ə-ˈfȯrd \
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


go, swing

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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

The situation is particularly tough in China’s smallest cities, where people are less able to afford cars without some form of credit. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Chinese Auto Sales Run Into a Lending Roadblock," 10 July 2018 Young people, especially those who are not privileged enough to be able to afford these opportunities, are very grateful to S.K.O.R.E. and their team. Dom Amore,, "Simsbury's Bronson Starsiak Delivers The Sporting Goods Where Needed," 5 July 2018 And the Juice Bar is on a mission to help folks be able to afford to eat better, Mouzon and Amoah said. Kevin Riordan,, "Young entrepreneurs are energizing Merchantville," 30 June 2018 Campaigning for the volunteer positions that pay $100 has been low key, with few candidates able to afford to send out mailings, place advertisements or knock on doors. Liz Bowie,, "Baltimore County voters cast ballots in first school board election," 27 June 2018 Who's going to be able to afford to shop at these higher-end retailers? Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Lincoln Road keeps growing — and its small businesses keep closing," 25 June 2018 Will doulas whose practices are based in the communities with the most need be able to afford it? Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "A Frustrating Year of Reporting on Black Maternal Health," 14 June 2018 How are these guys able to afford to pay so much more for the same stuff? Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "Why media executives can't play by Netflix's rules but are still trying," 14 June 2018 The latest development also potentially levels the playing field for those nations who might not have been able to afford the technology to analyze their team's performance. Zahid Mahmood, CNN, "World Cup 2018: Hand-held devices to provide in-game analysis to coaches," 12 June 2018

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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Learn More about afford

Phrases Related to afford

ill afford

Statistics for afford

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for afford

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

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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

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


af·ford | \ə-ˈfȯrd \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on afford

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for afford

Spanish Central: Translation of afford

Nglish: Translation of afford for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afford for Arabic Speakers

Comments on afford

What made you want to look up afford? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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