Definition of affair in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfer/


1An event or sequence of events of a specified kind or that has previously been referred to: the board admitted responsibility for the affair I wanted the funeral to be a family affair
More example sentences
  • The revolution in military affairs refers to this new form of information-based warfare.
  • Martin also took a keen and active interest in political affairs and events happening around the country.
  • Hitler's growing involvement in the details of economic life matched an increasing intervention in military affairs.
event, incident, happening, occurrence, eventuality, episode;
case, matter, business
1.1A matter that is a particular person’s concern or responsibility: what you do in your spare time is your affair
More example sentences
  • As in all matters concerning the affairs of Muslims our guide is the Qur'ân.
  • She went from running errands to running his life, convincing him that she should manage his affairs and business matters.
  • We all need to realise that religion should be a private affair and a matter of belief.
business, concern, matter, responsibility, province, preserve;
problem, worry
1.2 (affairs) Matters of public interest and importance: commissions were created to advise on foreign affairs
More example sentences
  • He enjoyed a passion for collecting art and an interest in public affairs.
  • Besides farming and fun, the clan's big interest was politics - they all felt an interest in public affairs was a duty.
  • His interest in public affairs, especially in social questions, was keener.
1.3 (affairs) Business and financial dealings: his time was spent in winding up his affairs
More example sentences
  • You can be aggressive when you need to resolve business and financial affairs.
  • You are blessed with a youthful outlook and dynamism to manage business or financial affairs successfully today.
  • It had been closed some months back after the organization intervened in the business's financial affairs.
transactions, concerns, matters, activities, dealings, undertakings, ventures, business
1.4 [with adjective] informal An object of a particular type: her dress was a black low-cut affair
More example sentences
  • The restaurant is the best; an old-fashioned wood-and-leather affair with a horseshoe bar.
  • The back light, a scratched grey plastic affair which had come with the bike, was less satisfying.
  • His early albums were scratchy affairs, recorded using just a boombox with a cheap built-in microphone.
2A love affair: his wife is having an affair
More example sentences
  • This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging.
  • Swingers often point to the high rates of clandestine extra-marital affairs when discussing this issue.
  • As well, different extramarital affairs demand different strategies on the part of the spouse or others.
relationship, love affair, affaire de coeur, romance, fling, flirtation, dalliance, liaison, involvement, intrigue, amour
informal hanky-panky, dirty weekend


Middle English: from Old French afaire, from à faire 'to do'; compare with ado.

  • This is from Old French à faire ‘to do’. The history of the English word ado is parallel to that of affair. It comes from Old Norse at and do. This parallel between at do and to do can be seen in the sense that ‘fuss’ is apparent in the phrases without more ado and what a to do!

Words that rhyme with affair

affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, compare, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, dare, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, flare, Folies-Bergère, forbear, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: af·fair

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