Definition of affirm in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfərm/


1 [reporting verb] State as a fact; assert strongly and publicly: [with object]: he affirmed the country’s commitment to peace [with clause]: he affirmed that she was, indeed, a good editor [with direct speech]: “Pessimism,” she affirmed, “is the most rational view.”
More example sentences
  • That the company's technology deficit should be so publicly acknowledged affirms that it longs to catch up: it doesn't usually publicize tactical withdrawals until long after the fact.
  • It was a beautiful ritual that allowed me to publicly affirm the vows that I had sworn so many years before.
  • In this way, he publicly affirmed his restored links with the left-wing, experts said.
declare, state, assert, proclaim, pronounce, attest, swear, avow, guarantee, pledge, give an undertaking
formal aver
1.1 [with object] Declare one’s support for; uphold or defend: the referendum affirmed the republic’s right to secede
More example sentences
  • As part of the message, he affirmed the team's support for the struggle of the tribal people for dignity, respect and liberty.
  • While Legault affirmed his support for the 67-year-old leader, he said he could change his mind at a later date.
  • Willinsky notes that citations are often used for one's own purposes, to support or affirm a particular idea.
uphold, support, confirm, ratify, endorse, sanction
1.2 [with object] Law Accept or confirm the validity of (a judgment or agreement); ratify.
Example sentences
  • Judgment in favor of patentee respecting validity issues was affirmed on interlocutory appeal, in suit against the parent.
  • This wide discretion of the chief constable to keep the peace was affirmed by the House of Lords.
  • Three and one-half years later, the resulting Final Judgment affirms the validity of the original agreement.
1.3 [no object] Law Make a formal declaration rather than taking an oath (e.g., to testify truthfully).
Example sentences
  • Perhaps, Madam Interpreter, rather than affirming or swearing you, it may be sufficient for the moment if you would explain to the applicant that I propose to send the case of him and his wife to the Federal Court.
  • What, I wondered, would that choleric gentleman have made of his decision, which was barely noted last week, to affirm rather than swear when taking his oath as First Minister at the Court of Session?
  • They benefited from the Toleration Act of 1689 and in 1696 were allowed to affirm rather than take an oath.
1.4 [with object] Law (Of a court) uphold (a decision) on appeal.
Example sentences
  • The eighth circuit court of Appeals affirmed this ruling and further stated that there was a trend toward improvement; however, scores were still below the national norms.
  • His decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, which held that the firm had been in breach of a duty of care owed to the bank both in contract and in tort.
  • The decision by the Supreme Court essentially affirmed those decisions.
2 [with object] Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement: there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children good teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged
More example sentences
  • Once home, they were affirmed by others (parades, medals).
  • The young people grow in their ability to apply their faith and are empowered and affirmed as valuable contributors to the life of their church and community.
  • These memories bear witness not to the importance of financial success for the individual but of a person's existence in a context which affirms and sustains them.
2.1Give (life) a heightened sense of value, typically through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting: it is a rich and challenging motion picture that both affirms life and emphasizes its fragility
More example sentences
  • Feeling unwanted and unloved most of her childhood and adult life, Sweetie had to find a way to affirm an existence for herself where she was valued.
  • They were simply making themselves visible, affirming their existence and moral legitimacy.
  • If we are to have one voice as an industry, we must regularly convene to affirm our existence and work together to fulfill our mission.



Example sentences
  • Book now for all of these shows and events and join the life affirmers filling the venues.
  • I treasure your friendship because we are steadfast affirmers of the same belief and that makes us profoundly one.
  • But if what it overwhelmingly finds is smallness, spiritual squalor, it would seem to be required of the affirmer to intervene and raise the tone of the world.


Middle English (in the sense 'make firm'): via Old French from Latin affirmare, from ad- 'to' + firmus 'strong'.

Words that rhyme with affirm

berm, confirm, firm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, term, therm, worm

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: af·firm

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