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[uh-fawrd, uh-fohrd] /əˈfɔrd, əˈfoʊrd/
verb (used with object)
to be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect:
The country can't afford another drought.
to be able to meet the expense of; have or be able to spare the price of:
Can we afford a trip to Europe this year? The city can easily afford to repair the street.
to be able to give or spare:
He can't afford the loss of a day.
to furnish; supply:
The transaction afforded him a good profit.
to be capable of yielding or providing:
The records afford no explanation.
to give or confer upon:
to afford great pleasure to someone.
Origin of afford
before 1050; Middle English aforthen, iforthen, Old English geforthian to further, accomplish, equivalent to ge- y- + forth forth + -ian infinitive suffix
Related forms
unafforded, adjective
Can be confused
accord, afford. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for affords


preceded by can, could, etc. to be able to do or spare something, esp without incurring financial difficulties or without risk of undesirable consequences: we can afford to buy a small house, I can afford to give you one of my chess sets, we can't afford to miss this play
to give, yield, or supply: the meeting afforded much useful information
Derived Forms
affordable, adjective
affordability, noun
Word Origin
Old English geforthian to further, promote, from forthforth; the Old English prefix ge- was later reduced to a-, and the modern spelling (C16) is influenced by words beginning aff-
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 affords



Old English geforðian "to put forth, contribute; further, advance; carry out, accomplish," from ge- completive prefix (see a- (1)) + forðian "to further," from forð "forward, onward" (see forth).

Change of -th- to -d- took place late 16c. (and also transformed burthen and murther into their modern forms). Prefix shift to af- took place 16c. under mistaken belief that it was a Latin word in ad-. Notion of "accomplish" (late Old English) gradually became "manage to buy or maintain; have enough money (to do something)" (1833). Older sense is preserved in afford (one) an opportunity. Related: Afforded; affording.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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