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From Middle English afere, affere, from Old French afaire, from a- + faire ‎(to do); Latin ad- + facere to do. See fact, and confer ado.



affair ‎(plural affairs)

  1. That which is done or is to be done; matter; concern; business of any kind, commercial, professional, or public; — often in the plural.
    a difficult affair to manage
  2. Any proceeding or action which it is wished to refer to or characterize vaguely.
    an affair of honor, a duel;  an affair of love, an intrigue
  3. (military) An action or engagement not of sufficient magnitude to be called a battle.
  4. A material object (vaguely designated).
    He used a hook-shaped affair with a long handle to unlock the car.
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter I, The Younger Set:
      The house was a big elaborate limestone affair, evidently new. Winter sunshine sparkled on lace-hung casement, on glass marquise, and the burnished bronze foliations of grille and door.
    • 1944, Miles Burton, The Three Corpse Trick, chapter 5:
      The dinghy was trailing astern at the end of its painter, and Merrion looked at it as he passed. He saw that it was a battered-looking affair of the prahm type, with a blunt snout, and like the parent ship, had recently been painted a vivid green.
  5. An adulterous relationship (from affaire de cœur).
  6. A party or social gathering, especially of a formal nature.


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