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 But some people don’t have the funds on hand to afford a big lump-sum payment or a hefty deposit. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "Beware hidden costs of charging summer camp to your credit card," 15 Feb. 2020 In Jefferson County, 53% of criminal defendants were granted pretrial release without monetary conditions, while only 26% of those required to post bail could afford to pay for that amount. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Legislation would raise threshold on felony theft, fraud to help reduce prison population," 14 Feb. 2020 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found just over 14% of Americans in 2018 — tens of millions of people — could not afford their health care. Christine Romans, CNN, "Tale of two economies: 14% can't pay medical bills, 401(k)s hit record highs," 13 Feb. 2020 The unexpected plunge in mortgage rates within the past year has sped led to faster growth in home prices, as homebuyers can afford more house for the same monthly payment. R.a. Schuetz, Houston Chronicle, "Mortgage rates remain near 50-year lows," 13 Feb. 2020 Many had also borrowed money or relied on charity to afford food and other necessities while under court supervision. Amy Yurkanin |, al, "The price of freedom? Report finds Alabama prison alternatives can cause poverty," 10 Feb. 2020 Most importantly, though, the W&S Open is an event that's priced so everyone can afford to attend. Adam Baum,, "Tickets for the 2020 Western & Southern Open tennis tournament go on sale Tuesday," 10 Feb. 2020 Advances in technology have historically led to increased inequality, not less, as those that can afford the new developments take advantage of them before less privileged people are able to do so. Rishad Premji, Quartz India, "New technologies have historically led to increased inequality—not anymore," 9 Feb. 2020 Their inability to find or afford a decent apartment, even with a well-paying job, is an ever-present daily reality. Mark Landler, New York Times, "For the Irish, Varadkar May Have Won Brexit, but He Lost the War at Home," 6 Feb. 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

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Afford.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 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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