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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In the real world, giant windows afford sweeping vistas of the Eisenhower Expressway, which bisects the building, creating an effect reminiscent of a tollway oasis. Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune, 14 Sep. 2022 What kind of person wants — or more accurately can afford — to dine at this fine establishment? Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Sep. 2022 Families across our nation can no longer afford basic necessities like groceries, gas and household goods. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 11 Sep. 2022 The report found that more than half of city residents could not afford their water bills in 2019, contributing to epidemics of water shut-offs and tax sales of homes for unpaid bills, especially in neighborhoods like West Baltimore’s. Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, 10 Sep. 2022 Buyers can only afford so much of a monthly payment, and ongoing assessments drive prices down. Gary Singer, Sun Sentinel, 8 Sep. 2022 After her husband’s death from cancer, Brenda (Latifah) can no longer afford to stay in their spacious Southern California house. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 8 Sep. 2022 Even in Massachusetts, where Gen Zers earn the highest median salary of $41,491, some still can’t afford the cost of living. Kaitlyn Koterbski, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2022 Feindt said her family can't afford testing and medical treatment caused by the contaminated water. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Afford.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for afford


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on afford

Nglish: Translation of afford for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afford for Arabic Speakers

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