to be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect:
The country can’t afford another drought.
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.
to be able to give or spare:
He can’t afford the loss of a day.
to furnish; supply:
The transaction afforded him a good profit.
to be capable of yielding or providing:
The records afford no explanation.
to give or confer upon:
to afford great pleasure to someone.
Contemporary Examples

He will take them into the lighthouse and up the spiral staircase to the top, which affords a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea.
An Excerpt from Between the Assassinations Aravind Adiga June 9, 2009

Part of the experience with any tobacco is the relationship it affords with time.
Is That Pipe Tobacco Locally Grown? Justin Green April 13, 2013

Is it pompous to wonder why, as a working journalist, Wikipedia affords the other guy that title?
The Dangers of Trusting Wikipedia With Your Life Michael Moynihan April 1, 2013

What a majority of Israelis support is the principle of separation that the “two-state solution” affords.
Apartheid Ambiguity Yousef Munayyer November 4, 2012

Running Hyde Park in the early morning affords a blend of sights, sounds, and, yes, smells.
Running the World Michael Chertoff July 24, 2009

Historical Examples

What happy fortune has brought the University for young men into the same town that affords a college for young ladies?
The Story of a Life J. Breckenridge Ellis

The wealth that affords the most luxurious entertainments must be the wealth that rules.
Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley

It is, moreover, contrasted with the Suffolk crag by the indications it affords of an extra-European climate.
A Manual of Elementary Geology Charles Lyell.

Even the Brighton “Church Congress” affords evidence of this.
Fragments of science, V. 1-2 John Tyndall

The constitutional history of Victoria affords a curious illustration of what will certainly happen in Ireland.
A Leap in the Dark A.V. Dicey

preceded by can, could, etc. to be able to do or spare something, esp without incurring financial difficulties or without risk of undesirable consequences: we 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
to give, yield, or supply: the meeting afforded much useful information

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.


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