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afford - definition and synonyms


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verb [transitive] afford pronunciation in American English /əˈfɔrd/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleaffording
past tenseafforded
past participleafforded
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  1. 1
    if you can afford something, you have enough money to be able to pay for it. This word usually follows “can,” “could,” or “be able to”

    I’m not sure how they are able to afford such expensive vacations.

    We need a bigger house, but we just can’t afford the rent.

    can/can’t afford to do something:

    The company simply cannot afford to pay overtime.

  2. 2
    if you can afford something you can do it without having to worry about it causing problems for you. This word always follows “can,” “could,” or “be able to”

    Scientists are going abroad, taking with them skills that our country can ill afford (=cannot afford) to lose.

    I’m so busy, I can rarely afford the luxury of a restful weekend.

    can/can’t/be unable to afford to do something:

    No politician can afford to ignore the power of television.

  3. 3
    formal to provide something
    afford protection/shelter:

    The vaccination also affords protection against polio.

    afford someone something:

    Letters survive that afford us a glimpse into his everyday life.



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