affair


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a fine state of affairs

A situation that has gone wrong and is very problematic. The term is an instance of irony or sarcasm. Well, this is a fine state of affairs we're in now. The client doesn't like the job we've done, and they want it fixed in less than a week.
See also: affair, fine, of, state

gala affair

A grand, lively, and festive social event. The company pulled out all the stops for the CEO's retirement party, turning the event into a gala affair.
See also: affair

put (one's) affairs in order

To organize one's financial and legal arrangements, especially in preparation for death. The doctors told me I likely had six months to live, so I need to start putting my affairs in order now. My father never put his affairs in order, and now, my brothers and I are embroiled in lawsuits over his estate.
See also: affair, order, put

a sorry state (of affairs)

A particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, and/or upsetting situation or set of circumstances. Their company has been in a sorry state ever since Jonathan took over. It's a sorry state of affairs when you can no longer be sure how you'll feed your children each night.
See also: sorry, state

a sad state (of affairs)

A particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, and/or upsetting situation or set of circumstances. Their company has been in a sad state after Jonathan took over. It's a sad state of affairs when you can no longer be sure how you're going to feed your children each night.
See also: sad, state

state of affairs

A current situation or set of conditions. It's been a sad state of affairs around here since our grandma got sick. I'd like to start this meeting by going over the company's financial state of affairs.
See also: affair, of, state

love affair

1. A very passionate romantic or sexual relationship, especially one that is temporary. Several years after the death of her husband, Janet reconnected with a man with whom she'd had an intimate love affair in their youth and had never stopped thinking about. Pretty much every teenager thinks their real first relationship is the greatest and most important love affair of their life.
2. An intense passion or enthusiasm (for something). Almost always followed by "with (something)." The accident ended my brief love affair with motorcycles. This generation's love affair with mobile devices is going to be the downfall of modern society.
See also: affair, love

emotional affair

An affair in which two people who are attracted to each other (and at least one of whom is in a committed romantic relationship with someone else) engage in a relationship that is emotionally intimate but not sexually or physically intimate. My husband spends so much time with his best friend from work that I'm worried he's having an emotional affair with her.
See also: affair, emotional

a pretty state of affairs

A situation that has gone wrong and is very problematic or unpleasant. (The use of "pretty" is ironic.) Well, this is a pretty state of affairs we're in now. The client doesn't like the job we've done, and they want it fixed in less than a week. And now the police have gotten involved—this sure turned into a pretty state of affairs, didn't it?
See also: affair, of, pretty, state

settle (one's) affairs

To deal with one's outstanding business or financial affairs. After we declared a voluntary liquidation, a third-party liquidator will come in and settle our affairs for us. You'll need to settle your affairs before you can apply for a mortgage.
See also: affair, settle

have an affair (with someone)

to have a love affair with someone. When I was 20, I had an affair with a rock star, and really made a fool of myself.
See also: affair, have

pretty state of affairs

 and fine state of affairs
an unpleasant state of affairs. This is a pretty state of affairs, and it's all your fault. What a fine state of affairs you've got us into.
See also: affair, of, pretty, state

settle someone's affairs

to deal with one's business matters; to manage the business affairs of someone who can't. When my uncle died, I had to settle his affairs. I have to settle my affairs before going to Mexico for a year.
See also: affair, settle

There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Prov. If you have a favorable opportunity to do something, do it, or you will lose your chance. (From Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar.) I think that this is the best possible time to start our own business. We shouldn't hesitate. There is a tide in the affairs of men.
See also: affair, men, of, there, tide

love affair

1. An intimate sexual relationship, as in They had a torrid love affair many years ago. This expression dates from about 1600, when it referred merely to the experiences connected with being in love. The current sense dates from the second half of the 1800s.
2. A strong enthusiasm, as in We can't ignore America's love affair with the automobile. [Mid-1900s]
See also: affair, love

a state of afˈfairs

general situation or circumstances: We know little about the present state of affairs in China.
See also: affair, of, state

sad state of affairs, a

An unhappy condition, unfortunate circumstances. The use of state of affairs to describe events or circumstances originated as the more ambiguous state of things, which was first recorded in 1555. Affairs began to be used about two centuries later. R. L. Green played on it in The Land of Lord High Tiger: “Sad affairs of State! Sad state of affairs! Affairs of a sad state.” It is sometimes put as sorry state of affairs.
See also: of, sad, state
References in classic literature ?
"I hear that you are thinking of going on with this affair. You have lost your temper now, and are beginning to play the fool!
"I am connected with the General," he said drily, "partly through business affairs, and partly through special circumstances.
I call it an episode, because this affair, I make bold to say, is episodic; it is no part of any general scheme, however wild.
"There is a peculiar stupidity and feebleness in the conduct of this affair which gives me excellent hopes of getting behind it and finding there something else than an individual freak of fanaticism.
He will, I imagine, be extremely startled to find his connection with this affair, whatever it may be, brought home to him so quickly.
This joyousness and dispersion of thought before a task of some importance seems to prove that this world of ours is not such a very serious affair after all.
By now, royal family enthusiasts know all about the extramarital affair Prince Charles had with his wife Camilla before the two of them got married.
There are a number of other reasons why people choose to embark on an affair as well.
? Pulp's Jarvis Cocker (affair with make-up artist exposed by tabloids).
2 : something that relates to or involves someone <His problem is no affair of mine.>
I AM afraid that Paul Linford was being disingenuous last Saturday (The Journal, February 2) in his comments on the Conway affair.
The board member stepped out and received her "message"--that her husband and a top executive named Susan Albano were having an affair.
"If the affair serves to prop up that relationship, then it is only a propping up job, not a long-term solution.
Yet he chose not to take Pick 'n Pay to the mat, saying that the whole plastic bag affair had created massive environmental awareness-raising in this country in a very short space of time."
A Family Affair by Marcus Major Dutton, January 2004 $24.95, ISBN 0-525-94768-X