af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio) \
affirmed; affirming; affirms

Essential Meaning of affirm

1 formal : to say that something is true in a confident way We cannot affirm that this painting is genuine. The two men affirm that they are innocent. = The two men affirm their innocence. [=they say they are not guilty] They neither affirmed nor denied their guilt.
2 formal : to show a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea) laws affirming the racial equality of all peoples They continued to affirm their religious beliefs. affirm life
3 law : to decide that the judgment of another court is correct The decision was affirmed by a higher court. The court affirmed his conviction. [=the court agreed that he was guilty]

Full Definition of affirm

transitive verb

1a : validate, confirm He was affirmed as a candidate.
b : to state positively He affirmed his innocence.
2 : to assert (something, such as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed The court affirmed his conviction.
3 : to show or express a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea) laws affirming the racial equality of all people

intransitive verb

1 : to testify or declare by affirmation (see affirmation sense 2) as distinguished from swearing an oath
2 : to uphold a judgment or decree of a lower court

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Other Words from affirm

affirmable \ ə-​ˈfər-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce affirm (audio) \ adjective
affirmance \ ə-​ˈfər-​mən(t)s How to pronounce affirm (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for affirm

assert, declare, affirm, protest, avow mean to state positively usually in anticipation of denial or objection. assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence. asserted that modern music is just noise declare stresses open or public statement. declared her support for the candidate affirm implies conviction based on evidence, experience, or faith. affirmed the existence of an afterlife protest emphasizes affirming in the face of denial or doubt. protested that he really had been misquoted avow stresses frank declaration and acknowledgment of personal responsibility for what is declared. avowed that all investors would be repaid in full

Examples of affirm in a Sentence

We cannot affirm that this painting is genuine. They neither affirmed nor denied their guilt. laws affirming the racial equality of all peoples They continued to affirm their religious beliefs. The decision was affirmed by a higher court.
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Recent Examples on the Web The board’s leadership issued a letter of reprimand to Cline for her message, and the full board voted to affirm that action during its meeting Thursday. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Sep. 2021 Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter -- all nominated by Republican presidents -- worked secretly at first, without consulting other colleagues, to forge a compromise that would affirm Roe. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 23 Sep. 2021 Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck made another public appearance yesterday, this time with a family outing that seems to further affirm the couple's long-term commitment to one another. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Aug. 2021 Instead, the results of the congressional elections were very strong for Republicans, strong enough to affirm to them that their basic direction is fine. Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county's elections, had asked Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to affirm that the drive-thru locations are legal but received no response. Jake Bleiberg, Star Tribune, 1 Nov. 2020 Alternatively, voters returning mail ballots may also include the final four digits of their Social Security numbers, or the voter can affirm that they have not been issued any of the above documents and still vote. Tyler Olson, Fox News, 8 Sep. 2021 Preserving our Technological Edge: Leaders will affirm that NATO’s ability to ensure our common defense relies on maintaining our technological edge. Zamira Rahim And Melissa Macaya, CNN, 14 June 2021 France has no legal recognition of ethnicity, and cultural difference has historically been difficult to affirm, much less celebrate, without being seen as a threat to an idealized, implicitly white notion of universal Frenchness. Alexandra Marshall, Vogue, 11 June 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for affirm

alteration (conformed to Latin affirmāre) of Middle English affermen "to fix firmly, make steadfast, establish, confirm, assert," borrowed from Anglo-French afermer, affermer, going back to Latin affirmāre "to strengthen, confirm, assert positively," from ad- ad- + firmāre "to strengthen, fortify," derivative of firmus "strong, durable, firm entry 1"

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Time Traveler for affirm

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

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Dictionary Entries Near affirm

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Affirm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for affirm


af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio) \
affirmed; affirming

Kids Definition of affirm

: to declare that something is true The man affirms that he is innocent.


transitive verb
af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm How to pronounce affirm (audio) \

Legal Definition of affirm

1 : to assert as true or factual
2 : to assert (as a judgment) as valid or confirmed affirmed the lower court's ruling — compare remand, reverse

intransitive verb

1 : to make a solemn declaration under the penalties of perjury in place of swearing an oath to which one conscientiously objects
2 : to uphold the judgment or actions of a lower court the appeals court affirmed

Other Words from affirm

affirmance \ ə-​ˈfər-​məns How to pronounce affirm (audio) \ noun
affirmation \ ˌa-​fər-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce affirm (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on affirm

Nglish: Translation of affirm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affirm for Arabic Speakers


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