af·​fair | \ ə-ˈfer How to pronounce affair (audio) \

Definition of affair

1a affairs plural : commercial, professional, public, or personal business handles the company's public affairs an expert in foreign affairs
b : matter, concern How I choose to live is my affair, not yours.
2 : a procedure, action, or occasion only vaguely specified also : an object or collection of objects only vaguely specified Their house was a 2-story affair.
3 or less commonly affaire
a : a romantic or passionate attachment typically of limited duration : liaison sense 2b had an affair with a coworker
b : a matter occasioning public anxiety, controversy, or scandal : case the Watergate affair of the early 1970s

Examples of affair in a Sentence

After the war, the government focused on its own domestic affairs. They accused the U.S. of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. How I choose to live is my affair, not yours. adulterous affairs between married men and single women
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Recent Examples on the Web Corrigan has been in the local spotlight regarding her 2019 affair with Olmsted Township Trustee Larry Abbott, which led to a harassment complaint. John Benson, cleveland, 3 Jan. 2022 Shauna, meanwhile, comes clean about her affair with Adam (Peter Gadiot). Erik Kain, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 Because the physical aspect of your affair with Harold has ended, there is still an emotional tie that needs to be severed. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 26 Dec. 2021 The post said Peng was angry at Zhang for insisting on keeping their affair a secret. Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2021 The slugfest continues Crossing the midway point of the third quarter, CAL and Paducah Tilghman are showing no signs of letting up in their blow-for-blow affair. J.l. Kirven, The Courier-Journal, 20 Nov. 2021 To further complicate the matter, Shane MacGowan’s hatred of interviews is almost as notorious as his long and sophisticated affair with drugs and alcohol. Caine O'rear, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2021 When Olmstead ran out of money in 2013, their affair ended, according to court documents. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, 13 Nov. 2021 Yes, Bill Clinton is forced to read the full story of his affair online, along with the rest of the world. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 10 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affair.' 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 affair

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

History and Etymology for affair

Middle English aferes "activities," affaire "enterprise," borrowed from Anglo-French afaire, affere "business, activity, enterprise, matter, topic, situation," from the phrase a faire "to do," from a "to" (going back to Latin ad) + faire "to do," going back to Latin facere — more at at entry 1, do entry 1

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Time Traveler for affair

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

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Dictionary Entries Near affair



affaire d'amour

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Statistics for affair

Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of affair

: work or activities done for a purpose : commercial, professional, public, or personal business
: a matter that concerns or involves someone
: a secret sexual relationship between two people : love affair


af·​fair | \ ə-ˈfer How to pronounce affair (audio) \

Kids Definition of affair

1 affairs plural : work or activities done for a purpose : business government affairs
2 : something that relates to or involves someone His problem is no affair of mine.
3 : a social event or activity The party was to be a simple affair.

More from Merriam-Webster on affair

Nglish: Translation of affair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affair for Arabic Speakers


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