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
[with object] declare one’s support for; uphold; defend:the referendum affirmed the republic’s right to secede
[with object] Law accept or confirm the validity of (a judgement or agreement); ratify:the Court of Appeal affirmed a decision of the High Court
[no object] Law 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
2 [with object] offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement:there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their childrengood teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged
Middle English (in the sense 'make firm'): via Old French from Latin affirmare, from ad- 'to' + firmus 'strong'