[uh-fawrd, uh-fohrd]
See more synonyms for afford on
verb (used with object)
  1. to be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect: The country can't afford another drought.
  2. 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.
  3. to be able to give or spare: He can't afford the loss of a day.
  4. to furnish; supply: The transaction afforded him a good profit.
  5. to be capable of yielding or providing: The records afford no explanation.
  6. 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 formsun·af·ford·ed, adjective
Can be confusedaccord afford Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for affords

Contemporary Examples of affords

  • Part of the experience with any tobacco is the relationship it affords with time.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is That Pipe Tobacco Locally Grown?

    Justin Green

    April 14, 2013

  • Is it pompous to wonder why, as a working journalist, Wikipedia affords the other guy that title?

  • What a majority of Israelis support is the principle of separation that the “two-state solution” affords.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Apartheid Ambiguity

    Yousef Munayyer

    November 5, 2012

  • Running Hyde Park in the early morning affords a blend of sights, sounds, and, yes, smells.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Running the World

    Michael Chertoff

    July 25, 2009

  • He will take them into the lighthouse and up the spiral staircase to the top, which affords a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea.

Historical Examples of affords

British Dictionary definitions for affords


  1. (preceded by can, could, etc) to be able to do or spare something, esp without incurring financial difficulties or without risk of undesirable consequenceswe 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
  2. to give, yield, or supplythe meeting afforded much useful information
Derived Formsaffordable, adjectiveaffordability, noun

Word Origin for afford

Old English geforthian to further, promote, from forth forth; 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

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