Definition of afford in English:


See synonyms for afford

Translate afford into Spanish

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1can/could affordHave enough money to pay for.

    ‘the best that I could afford was a first-floor room’
    • ‘we could never have afforded to heat the place’
    • ‘We pay for the link, we pay for the computational mills, but corporations put money in too and it's got to the point where we couldn't afford to buy enough computation on our own anymore.’
    • ‘They couldn't afford to buy enough wine for the whole party, so they didn't buy any at all.’
    • ‘It seemed that they couldn't afford to spend enough on maintenance.’
    • ‘When we arrived in Atlanta, we couldn't afford a room at the Marriott.’
    • ‘Architect Stephen Atkinson wanted a built-in bookcase in his condo living room, but he couldn't afford the $3,000 price tag.’
    • ‘A report said that poorer people couldn't afford healthy food and couldn't afford exercise. Can't the reporters conceive of exercise outside a gym?’
    • ‘But this time he had run out of money ‘I couldn't afford it any more and I had to leave,’ he said.’
    • ‘I didn't have any money and couldn't afford a computer, so I wrote it on index cards.’
    • ‘Some of my friends have been giving money but I couldn't afford it because I've just bought my own place.’
    • ‘I couldn't afford to pay €45 a week out of the money I get.’
    • ‘I couldn't afford to pay my tuition, I couldn't afford my rent, and I could barely scrounge up enough money to buy food.’
    • ‘They couldn't afford the repayments and they couldn't afford to sell.’
    • ‘They took Catholic girls who weren't smart enough for Notre Dame High, or who couldn't afford the fees and uniform.’
    • ‘Inside the room was an electric guitar, something Conor couldn't afford, but something the club was willing to loan him for performances.’
    • ‘The airline company explained it had run out of money and couldn't afford severance payments.’
    • ‘Most of the students were young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who couldn't afford to go to school because they had to earn money for their families by working on the streets.’
    • ‘If I lost my job, I couldn't afford to go to university, I couldn't afford to live in London and I'd have to stop being as active in my support of freedom.’
    • ‘What can you afford to do now that you couldn't afford to do before?’
    • ‘At first I couldn't afford to pay real models, but now I have about 15 pals who pose for me.’
    • ‘A member of the Law Society rose to speak about his tireless work to create some form of legal aid for those who couldn't afford to hire a lawyer to defend themselves.’
    pay for, bear the expense of, meet the expense of, spare the price of, have the money for, be rich enough for, have the wherewithal for
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Have (a certain amount of something, especially money or time) available or to spare.
      ‘it was taking up more time than he could afford’
      • ‘Checking it out took three hours we couldn't afford to spare.’
      • ‘I didn't have time to spare, and couldn't afford to be stalled.’
      • ‘He had no time to spare and couldn't afford to fly by the target.’
      • ‘Britain has so many celebrities that we can afford to spare a few.’
      • ‘I could not afford to spend a lot of resources, or hardly anything, on an allegation of the sort of thing that you have just been talking about.’
      • ‘If your resources are precious, then you cannot afford for there to be anything in the program that the programmer does not understand.’
      • ‘Given the size of the company, we cannot afford to make these services available internally.’
      • ‘All the houses have been snapping up as much of the available talent as they feel they can afford.’
      • ‘The most common excuse I hear is "I can't afford the time to document poor performance. I have a business to run."’
      • ‘All of our family is busy with children and can't afford the time or the patience to temporarily move in with him.’
      • ‘Often as homeschoolers, we might think we can't afford the time it takes to get enough sleep or take a walk everyday.’
      • ‘Most enterprises and home users can't afford the effort to secure all the systems individually.’
      • ‘The success of venture investment funds over the past decade has meant they simply can't afford the effort to invest in small amounts.’
      • ‘Each colony had to get along as best as it could, and they couldn't afford the time or energy to set up a formal bureaucracy.’
      • ‘I tried to wiggle my way out of it in every way I could: I couldn’t afford the time, I couldn’t afford to be away from my work, I had already been spending too much time away from home…and the list went on.’
      • ‘Working on the grant was time consuming and we felt that we couldn’t afford the effort two years in a row.’
    2. 1.2with infinitive Be able to do something without risk of adverse consequences.
      ‘kings could afford to be wrathful’
      • ‘The company couldn't afford to risk doing anything radical to a car responsible for 60% of its sales.’
      • ‘It would be troublesome to eat with the sash covering her mouth, but it was possible to do so, and she couldn't afford to risk any of the boys seeing her face.’
      • ‘I finally broke the silence with the sound of a shattered dream, saying that I couldn't afford to take a risk with my young family and all.’
      • ‘No publishing house of our size had ever won the prize and we consequently couldn't afford to go in there with high expectations.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I'd love to be able to bring in a ban but I just couldn't afford to.’’
      • ‘It wasn't that she couldn't defeat them but that she couldn't afford to draw attention and risk losing her prey.’
      • ‘He hoped money would be able to settle the problem because he really couldn't afford to be expelled in his last year.’
      • ‘Standing at the heart of the village and next to the busy road, it was a risk the parish council could not afford to take.’
      • ‘That's a risk progressive parties cannot afford to take again.’
      • ‘But however remote or near these scenarios might be, we cannot afford to take the risk of not being prepared.’
      • ‘Jobs are not easy to come by and if you have a mortgage and a family to support, you cannot afford to take many risks.’
      • ‘If, for example, you begin investing in your twenties or thirties, you can afford to take more risk.’
      • ‘It was a risk because Australia could not afford to give away easy runs.’
      • ‘Publishers could afford to take the risk and the small publishers still do.’
      • ‘It recognizes we cannot afford to avoid all risk, but rather must manage the critical risks.’
      • ‘Without an income, you can't afford to take risks with your capital.’
      • ‘It is not an institution with which a prime minister can afford to take risks.’
      • ‘While you're out of work, you can't afford to take risks with your money.’
      • ‘It is an unhappy book, and consequently I could not afford to submit to the temptation of the florid and extraneous.’
      • ‘As I said, we feel we could not afford to take that level of risk.’
      bear, sustain, stand, carry
      View synonyms
  • 2Provide or supply (an opportunity or facility)

    ‘the rooftop terrace affords beautiful views’
    • ‘they were afforded the luxury of bed and breakfast’
    • ‘The club affords the opportunity to people of all ages, male and female, to take up this healthy sport.’
    • ‘But a day at the races affords the perfect opportunity to indulge in a frivolous piece of fun fashion.’
    • ‘I need a new and positive mental outlook, and the new year affords an opportunity to put that into practice.’
    • ‘The online archive affords opportunity to research other characters from the play.’
    • ‘Each route affords opportunities to see and buy from artists of all disciplines.’
    • ‘On the contrary, it affords new opportunities for understanding and living with the past.’
    • ‘Fining over the top of the wrecks and around the hull affords a great opportunity to grasp the size of the ships.’
    • ‘It affords opportunities to solve problems and demonstrate the concern of the care team.’
    • ‘Such a break gives each a little holiday from the other and affords the chance to recharge their batteries to face the challenges ahead.’
    • ‘We had an agreement that if he thought the cloud cover was too low to afford a decent chance then he would not show up at my door.’
    • ‘With its combination of images and sound, it affords the greatest opportunity to influence people.’
    • ‘A roof-top bar affords superb views, and there are several other more traditional drinking places.’
    • ‘Gardening affords these people the opportunity to use their creative skills.’
    • ‘Such an unhurried environment affords me the opportunity to reflect more.’
    • ‘We have also worked very hard at keeping our staff by affording them opportunities to progress through the ranks.’
    • ‘We knew deep down that we were a good team and this game afforded us the opportunity to prove it.’
    • ‘The ability and the talents of youth must be brought to light by affording them the needed facilities.’
    • ‘I have a job that affords me the luxury of bringing my children with me to work.’
    • ‘It covers two levels and affords spectacular views from its upper floor.’
    • ‘There is a shaded area at the top of a hill nearby that affords a good view, is quiet and is very pleasant.’
    provide, supply, present, purvey, make available, offer, give, impart, bestow, furnish, render, grant, yield, produce, bear
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/əˈfôrd/ /əˈfɔrd/


Late Old English geforthian, from ge- (prefix implying completeness) + forthian ‘to further’, from forth. The original sense was ‘promote, perform, accomplish’, later ‘manage, be in a position to do’.