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[uh-fin-i-tee] /əˈfɪn ɪ ti/
noun, plural affinities.
a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, idea, etc.
a person, thing, idea, etc., for which such a natural liking or attraction is felt.
relationship by marriage or by ties other than those of blood (distinguished from consanguinity).
inherent likeness or agreement; close resemblance or connection.
Biology. the phylogenetic relationship between two organisms or groups of organisms resulting in a resemblance in general plan or structure, or in the essential structural parts.
Chemistry. the force by which atoms are held together in chemical compounds.
of or relating to persons who share the same interests:
to arrange charter flights for opera lovers and other affinity groups.
Origin of affinity
1275-1325; Middle English affinite < Middle French < Latin affīnitās connection by marriage. See affine, -ity
Related forms
nonaffinity, noun, plural nonaffinities, adjective
Can be confused
affinity, infinity.
1. partiality, fondness; sympathy, leaning, bent. 4. similarity, compatibility.
1. dislike, aversion. 4. dissimilarity, disparity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for affinity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why Venus ever in her prime, but because of her affinity with me?

    The Praise of Folly Desiderius Erasmus
  • He stared at it and the old feeling of affinity swept over him, stronger than ever.

    The Big Tomorrow Paul Lohrman
  • I never heard that he had the least affinity for either of these dissipations.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • A just government cannot be founded on force: for force has no affinity with justice.

  • But let me ask you another question: Has excess of pleasure any affinity to temperance?

    The Republic Plato
British Dictionary definitions for affinity


noun (pl) -ties
foll by with or for. a natural liking, taste, or inclination towards a person or thing
the person or thing so liked
a close similarity in appearance or quality; inherent likeness
relationship by marriage or by ties other than of blood, as by adoption Compare consanguinity
similarity in structure, form, etc, between different animals, plants, or languages
  1. the tendency for two substances to combine; chemical attraction
  2. a measure of the tendency of a chemical reaction to take place expressed in terms of the free energy change A
(biology) a measure of the degree of interaction between two molecules, such as an antigen and antibody or a hormone and its receptor
Derived Forms
affinitive, adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin affīnitāt- connected by marriage, from affīnis bordering on, related
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for affinity

c.1300, "relation by marriage" (as opposed to consanguinity), from Old French afinité (12c.), from Latin affinitatem (nominative affinitas) "neighborhood, relationship by marriage," noun of state from affinis "adjacent," also "kin by marriage," literally "bordering on," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + finis "a border, an end" (see finish). Used figuratively since c.1600 of structural relationships in chemistry, philology, etc. Meaning "natural attraction" (as though by family) is from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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affinity in Medicine

affinity af·fin·i·ty (ə-fĭn'ĭ-tē)

  1. An attraction or force between particles that causes them to combine.

  2. The attraction between an antigen and an antibody.

  3. A relationship or resemblance in structure between species that suggests a common origin.

  4. The selective staining of a tissue by a dye. The selective uptake of a dye, chemical, or other substance by a tissue.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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affinity in Science
  1. A relationship or resemblance in structure between species that suggests a common origin.

  2. An attraction or force between particles that causes them to combine, as the attraction between an antigen and an antibody.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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