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 On May 27, San Francisco officials enacted a program called Right to Recover that would provide two weeks of San Francisco’s minimum wage, or $1,285, to workers who contract COVID-19 but can’t afford to miss a paycheck while in self-isolation. Tatiana Sanchez,, "Bay Area’s undocumented restaurant workers may need most help, get the least," 5 July 2020 The tourism bureau attributes the May spike to the reopening of the beaches at a time when schools were closed, people working flexible hours from home and federal stimulus money assisting helping Americans afford extra travel. al, "‘Walking a tight rope’: Alabama’s beaches manage surge of visitors, spike in coronavirus," 4 July 2020 The big payback: When deciding whether to order defendants to pay court costs, Ohio judges don’t have to consider whether the defendants can afford to pay them, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Masks for teachers part of Ohio school re-opening plan: Capitol Letter," 3 July 2020 For astronomy enthusiasts who can’t afford the price tag of a $250,000 Virgin Galactic trip to space, this could be the next best thing. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Eau de Space — Which Smells Like Actual Outer Space — Could Be Your New Signature Scent," 2 July 2020 Inevitably, those in the path of a major storm are the ones who can’t afford to evacuate. Mariette Williams, The New Republic, "Hurricane Season Traps People on the Wrong Side of the Income Gap," 2 July 2020 The hospital could not afford to purchase the medication until July, Barias said. ProPublica, "She Needed Lifesaving Medication, but the Only Hospital in Town Did Not Have It," 2 July 2020 Families who can afford private tutoring or prep classes have a massive leg up, Nguyen said. Washington Post, "At a top magnet school with few black or Latinx students, a push for change meets resistance," 2 July 2020 Population increases and economic growth have led to more middle-class families that can afford a car. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "These cities have the world’s worst traffic congestion—but that could change fast," 30 June 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for afford

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Afford.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for afford


How to pronounce afford (audio)

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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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

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