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 Although the lead-up to the grand final proved to be chaotic, the main event was a relatively smooth affair. Chantelle Lee, TIME, 12 May 2024 The victor will likely face popular former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, whose 11th-hour candidacy turned the race from a sleepy affair safely in Democrats' column to a race Democrats have to sweat in one of the country's bluest states -- with nothing short of Senate control at stake. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 10 May 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 24 May. 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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