af·​for·​dance | \ ə-ˈfȯr-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce affordance (audio) \
plural affordances

Definition of affordance

: the quality or property of an object that defines its possible uses or makes clear how it can or should be used We sit or stand on a chair because those affordances are fairly obvious.— Scott Lafee An affordance is a resource or support that the environment offers an animal; the animal in turn must possess the capabilities to perceive it and to use it.— Eleanor J. Gibson et al.

First Known Use of affordance

1966, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for affordance

afford + -ance

Note: As a term in the study of cognition introduced by the American psychologist James J. Gibson (1904-79) in The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems (Boston, 1966) and later essays.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about affordance

Statistics for affordance

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affordance

The first known use of affordance was in 1966

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on affordance

Nglish: Translation of affordance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on affordance

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!