(used to indicate agreement, assent, etc.): “Is this the right way to Lake George?” “Affirmative.”

Origin of affirmative

1400–50; < Latin affirmātīvus, equivalent to affirmāt- (see affirmation) + -īvus -ive; replacing late Middle English affirmatyff < Middle French < Latin
Related formsaf·firm·a·tive·ly, adverbo·ver·af·firm·a·tive, adjectiveo·ver·af·firm·a·tive·ly, adverbpre·af·firm·a·tive, adjectivequa·si-af·firm·a·tive, adjectivequa·si-af·firm·a·tive·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for affirmative

Contemporary Examples of affirmative

Historical Examples of affirmative

  • Again, the girl made her formal response in the affirmative, then left the room.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • I cannot reply definitely in the affirmative to the question.

  • He nodded, as she seemed to expect an answer in the affirmative.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Though this history has its opinion on that point too, and decidedly in the affirmative.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Being then asked if he had any inclination to eat, he answered in the affirmative.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1

    Henry Fielding

British Dictionary definitions for affirmative



confirming or asserting something as true or validan affirmative statement
indicating agreement or assentan affirmative answer
  1. (of a categorial proposition) affirming the satisfaction by the subject of the predicate, as in all birds have feathers; some men are married
  2. not containing negationCompare negative (def. 12)


a positive assertion
a word or phrase stating agreement or assent, such as yes (esp in the phrase answer in the affirmative)
logic an affirmative proposition
the affirmative mainly US and Canadian the side in a debate that supports the proposition

sentence substitute

military a signal codeword used to express assent or confirmation
Derived Formsaffirmatively, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for affirmative

"answering 'yes,'" mid-15c., from use in logic; from Middle French affirmatif (13c.), from Latin affirmativus, from affirmat-, past participle stem of affirmare (see affirm). As a noun from early 15c. Affirmative action "positive or corrective effort by employers to prevent discrimination in hiring or promotion" is attested from 1935 with regard to labor unions; specific racial sense is from 1961; now often used more generally in reference to hiring quotas, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper