af·​ford | \ə-ˈfȯrd \
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

The Queen did step in before Princess Charlotte was born to give her, Prince Louis, and any future siblings the same stylings afforded to George. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Kids Won't Be Princes or Princesses," 15 Oct. 2018 Among the privileges afforded to Manafort at the Northern Neck facility: no requirement to wear a inmate uniform; a suite of rooms, including a private shower; and a personal telephone and laptop. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort arrives at Alexandria lockup; placed in protective custody," 12 July 2018 Wash Do a load for someone who can’t afford to by volunteering for Laundry Love. Zoie Matthew, Los Angeles Magazine, "Here’s What’s Being Done to End L.A.’s Homelessness Crisis," 14 June 2018 The issue for the NCAA is to determine whether the Baylor athletic department afforded opportunities and treatment to the student-athletes that were not available to all students. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "NCAA's Baylor investigation is almost complete. Here's why there won't be a big penalty," 13 June 2018 The weight loss, coupled with the nine-speed automatic’s gearing and an advanced stop/start system, afford a fuel-economy improvement of 3 mpg on the V-6 model, despite an 8 percent bump in power — to 310 horsepower. Al Haas,, "Roomy three-row SUVs appeal to 'child-raising generation'," 7 June 2018 The woman first came to the US illegally in 1991 but gained Temporary Protected Status -- which is granted to countries that suffer natural disasters and other mass problems and was afforded to El Salvador for decades. Tal Kopan, CNN, "Woman's forced labor for Salvadoran guerillas means she must leave US, court rules," 6 June 2018 Its hilltop location abutting the Chattahoochee River affords the lavish gated estate unapparelled privacy. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Georgia’s Most-Expensive Home Is Back on the Market for a Whopping $25 Million," 2 July 2018 In Fort Worth, lack of income is the number one reason for homelessness among women, just above the inability to afford rent. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "These 3 Companies Help At-Risk Women and Are Changing the World," 2 July 2018

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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Learn More about afford

Statistics for afford

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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

: to supply or provide (something needed or wanted) to someone


af·​ford | \ə-ˈfȯrd \
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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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