Meaning of “afford” in the English Dictionary

"afford" in English

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uk /əˈfɔːd/ us /əˈfɔːrd/

afford verb (HAVE ENOUGH)

can afford

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B1 to be able to buy or do something because you have enough money or time:

I don't know how he can afford a new car on his salary.
Few people are able to afford cars like that.
She couldn't afford the time off work to see him.
[ + to infinitive ] I can't afford to buy a house.


(Definition of “afford” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"afford" in American English

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affordverb [ I/T ]

us /əˈfɔrd, əˈfoʊrd/

to have enough money or time to buy, keep, or do something:

[ T ] I don’t know how he can afford a new car.
[ I ] Can you afford to take any time off work?

(Definition of “afford” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"afford" in Business English

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affordverb [ T ]

uk /əˈfɔːd/ us
can afford

to be able to buy or do something because you have enough money:

He is over 60 and can't afford his pension contributions.
can afford to do sth Debt is not necessarily a bad thing if the consumer can afford to pay it back.

to be able to do something without it causing problems:

can afford to do sth We can afford to wait.
I can't afford to pay attention to any controversy.

(Definition of “afford” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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If we are to stand up to this threat and fight this phenomenon, we can no longer afford to deprive ourselves of tools such as data retention.
We cannot afford to waste this opportunity, in a sector in which we have the greatest potential for growth, development and employment.
In my own country, as the ordinary driving test has become more stringent, it becomes harder for working class youngsters to afford.
We cannot afford to hobble our economies, our industries and those who live and work in our rural and remoter regions.
Given the polarisation of opinion, sound admission procedures are a must, i.e. procedures that guarantee safety, afford the consumer and the environment protection and uphold the precautionary principle.
Compared to the other sectors, agriculture can afford to present the margin of error of 3%, although this is probably still far too high.
We cannot afford, in either financial or human terms, to make room for woolly interpretations by one side or the other.
We cannot afford to wait.
When they were asked what they were desperate for, they did not say retroviral drugs, they said food, because they were too poor to be able to afford either.
While it is fashionable to concentrate on newly emerging diseases, we cannot afford to lose sight of familiar problems which affect huge numbers of patients.