Definition of affinity in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈfinədē/

noun (plural affinities)

(often affinity between/for/with)
1A spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something: he has an affinity for the music of Berlioz
More example sentences
  • They have a natural affinity with traditional country music which is the kind I do in my show.
  • He was most at home when working on the land and had a natural affinity with country people.
  • This dolphin later turned up in Grace Bay in 1980 and demonstrated a natural affinity with people.
empathy for, rapport with, sympathy for, accord with, harmony with, relationship with, bond with, fellow feeling for, closeness with/to, understanding of/for;
liking of/for, fondness of/for
informal chemistry with
1.1A similarity of characteristics suggesting a relationship, especially a resemblance in structure between animals, plants, or languages: a building with no affinity to contemporary architectural styles
More example sentences
  • Some authors have suggested a close relationship between cycads and Lyginopteris, but most favor an affinity to Medullosan seed plants.
  • It seems that the dualistic language has an innate affinity to directive speech acts (in a second-person perspective).
  • The researcher suggested a close affinity to Tetraodontiformes, although this idea has not been generally accepted.
similarity, resemblance, likeness, kinship, relationship, association, link, analogy, similitude, correspondence
1.2Relationship, especially by marriage as opposed to blood ties.
Example sentences
  • Across the continent there were marked continuities in physical characteristics and cultural features, and many linkages based on relations of kinship, affinity, exchange, and religion.
  • Related to this notion of communal affinity is ‘social closure’.
  • Peoples with no particular affinity toward each other are bound together in a state that was largely externally created and not the outcome of local political processes.
1.3chiefly Biochemistry The degree to which a substance tends to combine with another: the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen
More example sentences
  • Several of these results were based on measurements of binding affinities between specific residues in S4 and in the pore domain.
  • In the context of the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen there are four primary regulators, each of which has a negative impact.
  • Besides the long-range interactions it makes with neighboring protease residues, the binding affinity of a peptide also depends on its own conformation.


Middle English (in the sense 'relationship by marriage'): via Old French from Latin affinitas, from affinis 'related' (literally 'bordering on'), from ad- 'to' + finis 'border'.

  • paraffin from mid 19th century:

    This word first appeared in 1830 in German, coined by the chemist Karl Reichenbach from the Latin parum ‘little’ and affinis ‘related’ (also the source of affinity (Middle English)) because of its low chemical reactivity. It was in use in English within five years.

Words that rhyme with affinity

asininity, clandestinity, divinity, femininity, infinity, masculinity, salinity, trinity, vicinity, virginity

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: af·fin·i·ty

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.