Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


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



affair (plural affairs)

  1. (often in the plural) Something which is done or is to be done; business of any kind, commercial, professional, or public.
    a difficult affair to manage
    Synonyms: matter, concern
    • 1992, Zygmunt Bauman, Mortality, Immortality and Other Life Strategies, →ISBN, page 45:
      Responsibility is my affair, reciprocity is his.
    • 2011, George S. McClellan & Jeremy Stringer, The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration, →ISBN:
      There are a number of issues external to the institution that can influence the fiscal management of student affairs.
  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
    • 2014, Arthur T. Downey, The Creole Affair, →ISBN:
      The Creole affair is important because, from the slaves' standpoint, the Creole affair was the most successful slave revolt in American history.
  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.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I, page 200:
      She wore a starched white affair on her head, had a wart on one cheek, and silver-rimmed spectacles hung on the tip of her nose.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      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, affair of the heart).
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, 1st Australian edition, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1962, →OCLC, page 82:
      "Mean to say you been havin' an affair with Mrs. Peabody?"
    • 2001, Julia Cole, After the Affair, →ISBN, page 123:
      The emotions involved in affairs can seem like a rollercoaster ride – one moment sublime and exciting, the next full of guilt and confusion. Some people seem to enjoy the drama of these sorts of encounter, relishing the highs and lows. But for most people the experience of an affair can be difficult to manage - even if the affair eventually leads to a committed relationship.
    When Martin's wife found out about his affair with her best friend, she asked for a divorce.
    Mary had an affair with a woman from the gym.
  6. A romantic relationship with someone who is not one's regular partner (boyfriend, girlfriend).
    Jerry's girlfriend said she wanted to go steady, but she was in an affair with one of his team-mates.
  7. A person with whom someone has an adulterous relationship.
    • 2010, “Scandal”, in ABC:
      I was his affair and he was a little boy toy to me... Together it was our little scandal.
    • 2010 June 20, Pamela Paul, “Today's women can have it all -- including a midlife crisis”, in The Washington Post:
      Turns out she's married; he was her affair.
    • 2012 February 3, “I Am Having An Affair With My Best Friend”, in The Experience Project:
      Even though my husband forgave me and gave me another chance, I still continue to see my affair.
    • 2014, “Will it be Love or Will it be Fate that Win?”, in Princess Kaurvaki:
      She was my affair, but for me she was everything.
  8. A party or social gathering, especially of a formal nature.
    • 2014, M.C. Beaton, The French Affair, →ISBN:
      She also guessed that Lady Gladstone had not told them the affair had been planned some time ago. “We are looking forward to visiting you on Friday, Lady Gladstone,” said Harriet. “Geoffrey thought I might have forgotten because you sent us your invitation such ages ago, but I said, 'My dear brother, how could I possibly forget an invitation from Lady Gladstone?'“ “How very odd,” commented the comte lazily. “Lady Gladstone was just telling us it was an impromptu affair.”
  9. (slang, now rare) The (male or female) genitals.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], →OCLC:
      [S]he, with the greatest effrontery imaginable, unbuttons his breeches, and removing his shirt, draws out his affair, so shrunk and diminished that I could not but remember the difference, now cresfallen, or just faintly lifting its head.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]





Unadapted borrowing from English affair, from French affaire.



affair m (plural affaires)

  1. affair (extramarital relationship)
    Synonym: aventura

Usage notes[edit]

According to Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) prescriptions, unadapted foreign words should be written in italics in a text printed in roman type, and vice versa, and in quotation marks in a manuscript text or when italics are not available. In practice, this RAE prescription is not always followed.