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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English afforthen, aforthen, avorthien, from earlier iforthen, iforthien, ȝeforthien, from Old English forþian, ġeforþian (to further, accomplish, afford), from Proto-Germanic *furþōną, from Proto-Germanic *furþą (forth, forward), equivalent to a- +‎ forth. Cognate with Old Norse forða (to forward oneself, save oneself, escape danger), Icelandic forða (to save, rescue).



afford (third-person singular simple present affords, present participle affording, simple past and past participle afforded)

  1. To incur, stand, or bear without serious detriment, as an act which might under other circumstances be injurious; (usually after an expression of ability, as could, able, difficult) to be able or rich enough.
    I think we can afford the extra hour it will take.  We can only afford to buy a small car at the moment.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      “[…] We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic? []
    • 1981, Wizardry: A Game of Fantasy and Adventure [user manual]‎[1], Ryan Press, page 19:
      If a party member can afford the fee, then the syncophants[sic] will go to work.
    • 2021 November 20, “Answered prayers; Catholic schools are seeing increases in enrolment for the first time in years”, in The Economist, London, page 39:
      Ms Camisa and her husband have had to rejig their finances to afford tuition.
  2. (obsolete) To offer, provide, or supply, as in selling, granting or expending, with profit, or without too great a loss.
    Alfred affords his goods cheaper than Bantock.
  3. (rare) To give forth; to supply, yield, or produce as the natural result, fruit, or issue.
    Grapes afford wine.  Olives afford oil.  The earth affords fruit.  The sea affords an abundant supply of fish.
    • 1892, Ella Eaton Kellogg, “Vegetables”, in Science in the Kitchen: A Scientific Treatise on Food Substances and Their Dietetic Properties, Together with a Practical Explanation of the Principles of Healthful Cookery, and a Large Number of Original, Palatable, and Wholesome Recipes[2], Revised edition, Michigan: Health Publishing Company, page 243:
      The percentage of nutritive elements contained in the parsnip is very small; so small, indeed, that one pound of parsnips affords hardly one fifth of an ounce of nitrogenous or muscle-forming material.
  4. To give, grant, or confer, with a remoter reference to its being the natural result; to provide; to furnish.
    A good life affords consolation in old age.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      One morning I had been driven to the precarious refuge afforded by the steps of the inn, after rejecting offers from the Celebrity to join him in a variety of amusements. But even here I was not free from interruption, for he was seated on a horse-block below me, playing with a fox terrier.
    • 1940 May, “The Why and the Wherefore: Running Powers”, in Railway Magazine, page 318:
      This was done, and in many cases still is done by the main-line railway groups, through the exercise of running powers, which on application to Parliament by the company using them have been granted for the express purpose of affording this access without the necessity for building independent tracks. In other cases, such running powers have been granted without recourse to Parliament, by voluntary agreement between the parties.
    • 1960 June, “Motive Power Miscellany: Eastern Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 376:
      The 2,800 h.p. Brush "Falcon" diesel-electric prototype Co-Co with two Bristol-Siddeley-Maybach high-speed engines will be afforded facilities for service trials on the G.N. main line when it makes its debut - in the autumn of this year, if construction proceeds according to schedule.
    • 2012 April 29, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Treehouse of Horror III” (season 4, episode 5; originally aired 10/29/1992)”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Writing a “Treehouse of Horror” segment has to be both exhilarating and daunting. It’s exhilarating because it affords writers all the freedom in the world.
    • 2022 November 30, Paul Bigland, “Destination Oban: a Sunday in Scotland”, in RAIL, number 971, page 75:
      We continue through suburban Newcastle along the edge of the Tyne, before squealing around the tight curves onto the magnificent High Level bridge, which affords glorious views across Newcastle and along the river before arriving at journey's end.

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