Definition of affirm in English:



  • 1[reporting verb] State emphatically or publicly.

    [with object] ‘he affirmed the country's commitment to peace’
    [with clause] ‘they affirmed that policies were to be judged by their contribution to social justice’
    • ‘The writer talked about her struggles to publicly affirm spiritual values in a culture that is deeply cynical.’
    • ‘Labor's foreign policy affirms that engagement with Asia must always be at the forefront of our diplomacy.’
    • ‘My book argues for pluralism in which classical absolute claims are upheld but their limits are affirmed.’
    • ‘It was a beautiful ritual that allowed me to publicly affirm the vows that I had sworn so many years before.’
    • ‘She then affirmed publicly her respect for the communal authorities.’
    • ‘The new citizens promised to uphold British values and either affirmed or swore to ‘be faithful to Her Majesty, her heirs and successors according to law’.’
    • ‘What interests me is that these women affirmed work as the integral definer of their identity.’
    • ‘Prominent doctors are enlisted to publicly affirm the malady's ubiquity.’
    • ‘A civic place should be a space where we can publicly affirm the different modes in which we might belong to a community.’
    • ‘That the company's technology deficit should be so publicly acknowledged affirms that it longs to catch up: it doesn't usually publicize tactical withdrawals until long after the fact.’
    • ‘In this way, he publicly affirmed his restored links with the left-wing, experts said.’
    • ‘Individuals or ensembles therefore look for those signs of achievement in order to affirm their own sense of mission and purpose.’
    • ‘He was careful to proclaim his allegiance to President Karzai, and affirmed that he would send more money to the center if they needed it.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the department continues to affirm its commitment to public safety.’
    • ‘But I discovered that most other churches never make their members publicly affirm this doctrine.’
    • ‘The vendor has publicly affirmed that it will continue to support and promote the product.’
    • ‘We are peace-loving people and we do not let others suppress us, he said, affirming the policies of the government.’
    • ‘That means any two people who are not already married can publicly and formally affirm their commitment to each other.’
    • ‘What the movie does affirm is a couple of very sad truths: that human beings hurt and abuse each other over and over again without realising the effect that this has on others.’
    • ‘Both Bush and Allawi affirmed on Thursday that elections would be held as promised.’
    declare, state, assert, aver, proclaim, pronounce, attest, swear, avow, vow, guarantee, promise, certify, pledge, give one's word, give an undertaking
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    1. 1.1[with object]Declare one's support for; uphold; defend.
      ‘the referendum affirmed the republic's right to secede’
      • ‘However, it may be an example of an ideal affirmed by everyone but not always fully supported in practice.’
      • ‘Dean has explained that he was just trying to mirror and affirm the enthusiasm of his supporters who were in that room in Iowa.’
      • ‘On campus they have affirmed the equality of women, invited lay people to peer and team ministry, accepted homosexuals and allowed them to have their own voice.’
      • ‘While Legault affirmed his support for the 67-year-old leader, he said he could change his mind at a later date.’
      • ‘The statement affirmed the two countries' willingness to maintain their diplomatic, economic and military ties.’
      • ‘Willinsky notes that citations are often used for one's own purposes, to support or affirm a particular idea.’
      • ‘It supported the proposal to foster more regeneration - provided it allows for sensitive re-use of historic buildings - but affirmed its support for locally distinctive new developments.’
      • ‘You affirm justice and uphold the idea of higher forces being in control.’
      • ‘They have unanimously affirmed their support for management and the strategy for taking the company forward.’
      • ‘Such status also supports the photograph's definition as object, thus affirming its artistic value through a disassociation with traditional photographs, both fine art and commercial.’
      • ‘As part of the message, he affirmed the team's support for the struggle of the tribal people for dignity, respect and liberty.’
      • ‘The evidence provided by the Secretary of State supported and affirmed much of the reporting in the Press.’
      • ‘They affirm our heritage and maintain sanctity of our multi-ethnic roots.’
      • ‘By 1996, all member states had affirmed their support to the adoption of national legislation or other suitable measures to give effect to the principles of the code.’
      • ‘In supporting this motion, we affirm those values.’
      • ‘She nodded, as if agreeing with herself would affirm her words.’
      • ‘When will we be able to celebrate it and affirm it and support it?’
      • ‘They are quoted because they support and affirm conventional hopes for life after death.’
      • ‘Still, a willingness to clearly affirm an alternative vision of human relationships would be a significant start.’
      • ‘In the normal course of events, by punishing the guilty and not punishing the innocent, a system of criminal law affirms shared values and supports social cohesion.’
      uphold, support, defend, maintain, confirm, ratify, endorse, agree to, consent to, assent to, sanction
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    2. 1.2Law [with object]Accept or confirm the validity of (a judgement or agreement); ratify.
      ‘the Court of Appeal affirmed a decision of the High Court’
      • ‘The difficulty for the applicant is that he has been unable to point to any errors of law in the judgment of the federal magistrate or, indeed, in the judgment of the Justice, which affirmed the federal magistrate's decisions.’
      • ‘Judgment in favor of patentee respecting validity issues was affirmed on interlocutory appeal, in suit against the parent.’
      • ‘Although both agreements affirm the duty of parties to prevent and eliminate land-based marine pollution, they do not as such prescribe detailed standards for doing so.’
      • ‘This wide discretion of the chief constable to keep the peace was affirmed by the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Three and one-half years later, the resulting Final Judgment affirms the validity of the original agreement.’
      corroborate, bear out, verify, show the truth of, prove, validate, authenticate, substantiate, give substance to, justify, vouch for, vindicate, give credence to, support, uphold, back up
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    3. 1.3Law [no object]Make a formal declaration rather than taking an oath.
      ‘he refused to take the oath but chose simply to affirm on being admitted to the Privy Council’
      • ‘Now, Mr Translator, you had better be sworn or affirmed, I think.’
      • ‘Perhaps, Madam Interpreter, rather than affirming or swearing you, it may be sufficient for the moment if you would explain to the applicant that I propose to send the case of him and his wife to the Federal Court.’
      • ‘What, I wondered, would that choleric gentleman have made of his decision, which was barely noted last week, to affirm rather than swear when taking his oath as First Minister at the Court of Session?’
      • ‘They benefited from the Toleration Act of 1689 and in 1696 were allowed to affirm rather than take an oath.’
      • ‘As a result, a witness can request to affirm, rather than swear.’
  • 2[with object] Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement.

    ‘there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children’
    ‘good teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged’
    • ‘Once home, they were affirmed by others (parades, medals).’
    • ‘Her eyes affirm me.’
    • ‘She has a current beau who affirms himself by aggressive initiation of sexual interaction.’
    • ‘These memories bear witness not to the importance of financial success for the individual but of a person's existence in a context which affirms and sustains them.’
    • ‘Labor that does not affirm humans and, instead, reduces them to objects for manipulation, is a form of oppression.’
    • ‘The young people grow in their ability to apply their faith and are empowered and affirmed as valuable contributors to the life of their church and community.’
    1. 2.1Give (life) a heightened sense of value, typically through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting.
      ‘it is a rich and challenging motion picture that both affirms life and emphasizes its fragility’
      • ‘Feeling unwanted and unloved most of her childhood and adult life, Sweetie had to find a way to affirm an existence for herself where she was valued.’
      • ‘It is a poetic philosophy that not only sings and sizzles about life, it also affirms life.’
      • ‘If we are to have one voice as an industry, we must regularly convene to affirm our existence and work together to fulfill our mission.’
      • ‘They were simply making themselves visible, affirming their existence and moral legitimacy.’
      • ‘We'll greet them with a clear soul and with a composure that affirms the dignity of life and unites suffering and knowledge.’
      • ‘This "advance care planning" allows us to affirm life and accept death, when imminent.’
      • ‘Each colony insures that every elderly member is included in meaningful activities, taking into account their needs, so that the dignity of their lives is affirmed to the very end.’
      • ‘It is a symptom of an intellectually impoverished time that accepting social responsibility and affirming life should be considered opposites.’
      • ‘The content celebrates and affirms the lives of people with disabilities.’
      • ‘June affirms her existence through an escapist world of romantic novels and soap-operas.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘make firm’): via Old French from Latin affirmare, from ad- to + firmus strong.