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


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

Reliever Chris Devenski yielded three runs in the fifth, taking away any momentum Álvarez's first blast in the top-half afforded. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros fall to A's, extend losing streak to 5 games," 17 Aug. 2019 The list influences development and land acquisition efforts, since species are afforded legal protections and conservation groups are often guided by habitat protection efforts. Michael P. Norton,, "Bald eagle recovering, two bee species marked as endangered in Mass.," 16 Aug. 2019 And that’s something Harbaugh can’t afford at this juncture. Nick Baumgardner, USA TODAY, "Jim Harbaugh in whatever-it-takes mode as he tries to lead Michigan back to top of Big Ten," 16 Aug. 2019 While any potential transfer hinges on Los Cules raising significant funds to afford their former favourite, a move would likely suit all parties, with PSG thought to be preparing for life without the flamboyant but highly temperamental forward., "Transfer Window: Neymar, Philippe Coutinho & the Moves That Could Still Happen This Summer," 16 Aug. 2019 The department warned that Beijing’s encroachment threatened Hong Kong’s special status with the U.S. accorded by a 1992 law, which affords the enclave preferential treatment in areas like trade. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "Trump Says Beijing Should Resolve the Hong Kong Crisis 'Humanely' if It Wants a Trade Deal," 15 Aug. 2019 Rich countries would be foolhardy to forgo it, but can probably afford to. The Economist, "One way or another the deluge is coming," 15 Aug. 2019 A decade ago, the state prosecutor in Florida took a pass, and former Trump labor secretary Alex Acosta, the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida at the time, applied the minimal possible sanction while affording Epstein every possible consideration. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Mistakes Were Made — Always in Jeffrey Epstein’s Favor," 13 Aug. 2019 Feeney kept Floral Street’s prices accessible on purpose, with the ideal that fans could afford multiple fragrances to match their multiple moods. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Floral Street, an Affordable, Vegan Fragrance Brand, Is Now Sold at Sephora," 13 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for afford

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

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
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

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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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