a. Something done or experienced; a matter or event: Preparing dessert was a messy affair.
b. A matter of personal concern: What I did is my own affair.
c. A matter causing public scandal and controversy: the Dreyfus affair.
d. A social function: The reception was a posh affair.
a. Transactions and other matters of professional or public business: affairs of state.
b. Personal business: get one's affairs in order.
3. An object or a contrivance: Their first car was a ramshackle affair.
4. A sexual relationship between two people, especially when at least one of them is married or in another committed romantic relationship.
[Middle English affaire, from Old French afaire, from a faire, to do : a, to (from Latin ad; see AD-) + faire, to do (from Latin facere; see dhē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.