Definition of afford in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfɔːd/


[with object]
1 (can/could afford) Have enough money to pay for: the best that I could afford was a first-floor room [with infinitive]: we could never have afforded to heat the place
More example sentences
  • We pay for the link, we pay for the computational mills, but corporations put money in too and it's got to the point where we couldn't afford to buy enough computation on our own anymore.
  • They couldn't afford to buy enough wine for the whole party, so they didn't buy any at all.
  • It seemed that they couldn't afford to spend enough on maintenance.
pay for, bear/meet the expense of, spare the price of, have the money for, be rich enough for, have the wherewithal for;
run to, stretch to, manage
1.1Have (a resource such as money or time) available or to spare: it was taking up more time than he could afford
More example sentences
  • Checking it out took three hours we couldn't afford to spare.
  • I didn't have time to spare, and couldn't afford to be stalled.
  • He had no time to spare and couldn't afford to fly by the target.
1.2 [with infinitive] Be able to do something without risk of adverse consequences: only aristocrats could afford to stoop to such practices
More example sentences
  • The company couldn't afford to risk doing anything radical to a car responsible for 60% of its sales.
  • It would be troublesome to eat with the sash covering her mouth, but it was possible to do so, and she couldn't afford to risk any of the boys seeing her face.
  • I finally broke the silence with the sound of a shattered dream, saying that I couldn't afford to take a risk with my young family and all.
bear, sustain, stand, carry;
allow oneself
2Provide or supply (an opportunity or facility): the rooftop terrace affords beautiful views [with two objects]: they were afforded the luxury of bed and breakfast
More example sentences
  • The club affords the opportunity to people of all ages, male and female, to take up this healthy sport.
  • But a day at the races affords the perfect opportunity to indulge in a frivolous piece of fun fashion.
  • I need a new and positive mental outlook, and the new year affords an opportunity to put that into practice.
provide, supply, present, purvey, make available, offer, give, impart, bestow, furnish, render, grant, yield, produce, bear


Late Old English geforthian, from ge- (prefix implying completeness) + forthian 'to further', from forth. The original sense was 'promote, perform, accomplish', later 'manage, be in a position to do'.

  • Old English forthian ‘to further’ lies behind afford. The original sense was ‘accomplish’, later coming to mean ‘be in a position to do’. The association with wealth is recorded from late Middle English.

Words that rhyme with afford

aboard, abroad, accord, applaud, award, bawd, board, broad, chord, Claude, cord, ford, fraud, gaud, Gawd, hoard, horde, laud, lord, maraud, milord, sward, sword, toward, unawed, unexplored, unrestored, ward

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: af¦ford

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