af·​fair ə-ˈfer How to pronounce affair (audio)
affairs plural : commercial, professional, public, or personal business
handles the company's public affairs
an expert in foreign affairs
: matter, concern
How I choose to live is my affair, not yours.
: 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.
or less commonly affaire
: a romantic or passionate attachment typically of limited duration : liaison sense 2b
had an affair with a coworker
: 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
Recent Examples on the Web The budget process was a far more unworried affair in 2022, when, at Newsom’s urging, the Legislature approved $1.4 billion in loans to keep the Diablo Canyon plant open to help maintain reliability of the state’s power grid. Ari Plachta, Sacramento Bee, 5 June 2024 The southern entrance to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park has long been a rather dour affair. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2024 Many of the posts were about current affairs, history or politics, but some were personal musings. Li Yuan, New York Times, 4 June 2024 Public rate hearings are usually dull affairs, full of technical language about methodology. Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald, 4 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for affair 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'affair.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near affair

Cite this Entry

“Affair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


af·​fair ə-ˈfa(ə)r How to pronounce affair (audio)
plural : commercial, professional, public, or personal business
government affairs
arranged my affairs before leaving
: concern entry 2 sense 1, matter
not your affair at all
: event sense 1b, activity
a social affair
: product sense 2, thing
the house was a two-story affair
: a brief romantic relationship

More from Merriam-Webster on affair

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