af·​front | \ ə-ˈfrənt How to pronounce affront (audio) \
affronted; affronting; affronts

Definition of affront

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to insult especially to the face by behavior or language He was affronted by her rudeness.
b : to cause offense to laws that affront society
2a : to face in defiance : confront affront death
b obsolete : to encounter face-to-face
3 : to appear directly before



Definition of affront (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a deliberate offense : insult an affront to his dignity
2 obsolete : a hostile encounter

Synonyms for affront

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for affront


offend, outrage, affront, insult mean to cause hurt feelings or deep resentment. offend need not imply an intentional hurting but it may indicate merely a violation of the victim's sense of what is proper or fitting. hoped that my remarks had not offended her outrage implies offending beyond endurance and calling forth extreme feelings. outraged by their accusations affront implies treating with deliberate rudeness or contemptuous indifference to courtesy. deeply affronted by his callousness insult suggests deliberately causing humiliation, hurt pride, or shame. insulted every guest at the party

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The Middle English "afronten," the ancestor of the Modern English verb "affront," was borrowed from the Anglo-French afrunter, a verb which means "to defy" but which also has the specific meaning "to strike on the forehead" or "to slap on the face." These more literal senses reveal the word's Latin origins, a combination of the Latin prefix ad-, meaning "to" or "towards," and "front-, frons," which means "forehead" (and which is also the source of the English word front). While the striking or slapping sense of "afrunter" was not adopted by English, it is alluded to in the oldest uses of "afronten" in Middle English in the sense of "to insult especially to the face."

Examples of affront in a Sentence

Verb did not mean to affront you when I told you I didn't need your help Noun He regarded her rude behavior as a personal affront. took it as an affront that she wasn't asked to help cook Thanksgiving dinner
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Its product refuses to entertain while its meta events such as the Oscars affront those who are naïve enough to beg it for escapism. Armond White, National Review, 28 Apr. 2021 Life itself, then, could affront and ridicule and even torment the provocateur: the mocker brutally mocked by personal reality. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2021 Other customers show up without masks, occasionally reacting belligerently or as if personally affronted when asked to put on a mask or practice social distancing. Anchorage Daily News, 2 June 2020 Judge for yourself whether Errol Morris’ documentary American Dharma affronts the Republic by being too kind to Bannon. Kyle Smith, National Review, 1 Nov. 2019 And while some may point to Kenny Dalglish or Steven Gerrard as Mr. Liverpool, either of those men would be affronted at that suggestion, because the only true contender is Bill Shankly., 23 July 2019 Snowden says he was affronted by the rank hypocrisy of it all. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2019 It’s hard to imagine anybody feeling affronted by him. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 21 June 2019 Which is obviously why so many people are affronted by it. Cincinnati Enquirer, 13 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nevertheless, this new breach was perceived as such an egregious affront to U.S. national security that the Administration was determined to get to the bottom of it. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 The Supreme Court’s three liberal justices dissented, calling the case an affront to women’s rights. Alexa Corse, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 Some fear the erasure of historical memory, or see an affront to their own ancestors who fought alongside the Soviets. Vanessa Gera, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Aug. 2022 The events presented an affront to China and its leader, Xi Jinping. Paul Mozur,, 3 Aug. 2022 The events presented an affront to China and its leader, Xi Jinping. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2022 That’s not an affront to womanhood, or a subtraction. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 13 July 2022 Jenkins was a crystal-ball prophesy of Blasey Ford, feminist manipulation gone berserk, an affront to all observers. Armond White, National Review, 6 July 2022 Just as the officers at the Capitol were the last line of defense on January 6, the Justice Department is the last line of defense for our democracy in making sure that those who are responsible for this affront to our democracy pay a steep price. Michael Fanone, CNN, 12 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affront.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of affront


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for affront


Middle English afronten, afrounten, borrowed from Anglo-French afrunter "to strike the front of, shame," derivative from the phrase a frunt "facing, openly, blatantly," from a "to, at" (going back to Latin ad) + frunt "front entry 1, forehead" — more at at entry 1


borrowed from Middle French, noun derivative of affronter "to affront entry 1"

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

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Cite this Entry

“Affront.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for affront


af·​front | \ ə-ˈfrənt How to pronounce affront (audio) \
affronted; affronting

Kids Definition of affront

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to insult openly : offend He was affronted by her rude behavior.



Kids Definition of affront (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or statement that insults or offends someone

More from Merriam-Webster on affront

Nglish: Translation of affront for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affront for Arabic Speakers


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