What is an affair? An affair is a sexual relationship between two people, often when one or both of them is married to someone else. But this is a common word in English, and it tends to get overused. In this installment of our 14-day challenge to make you a master of advanced love vocabulary, we’re going to look at five affair synonyms in English so that you don’t find yourself using the same old word over and over again. Native speakers know all of these words, but they won’t expect you to know them. They’re going to really smile when they hear you using these affair synonyms like an old pro! (Unless you’re confessing to an affair with their spouse, in which case… Run!)





1. Fling


A fling is a short sexual relationship with someone. A fling is never serious, and it’s not really motivated by love. It’s about sex or just having fun. We sometimes call the short romances people have on vacation or during a break from school a fling.



row = a noisy argument


Example sentence:

Rome was incredible. I left all my stresses behind. I had a fling with a swarthy guitar player and walked barefoot with flowers in my hair. If only I didn’t have to come back!

BONUS VOCAB: swarthy

swarthy = (especially of a person or their face) having dark skin


2. Dalliance


If you retain just one word on this list, make it this one. I don’t know what it is about this word, but it just sounds nice.


A dalliance is a sexual relationship that is not serious.



Example sentence:

I don’t think that affair is going to get in the way of us working together. It was over 20 years ago, and it was nothing more than a dalliance.



3. Intrigue


While a fling and a dalliance might be secret or out in the open, an intrigue is always a secret love affair.


Example sentence:

Do you really think that I ever believed your stories about working late? I’m through with sitting at home alone, playing the good wife, while you’re out indulging in another one of your intrigues


4. Liaison


Another affair synonym that implies secrecy is liaison. A liaison is a secret sexual relationship, especially one where one or both of the partners are married.


Example sentence:

Years ago, Gregory and I had been romantically involved. His wife was a cold woman, and I was young and naïve. The liaison ended when I got pregnant, and he sent me away to have the child in the countryside. That child grew up to be the man you know as Henri Oubliette.


Related: Check out my podcast interview with Adam Broughton to learn about the importance of developing an advanced English vocabulary!


5. Extracurricular Activities


In one sense, extracurricular activities are activities you do at school that aren’t part of your normal courses. Marching band, field hockey, and the debate team would all be examples of extracurricular activities.


However, we also use this term as an informal euphemism to refer to a sexual relationship (or multiple sexual relationships) outside of your marriage or committed relationship. Although it’s sometimes used in a serious way, we often use this term with a slightly humorous tone. It’s something we often say with a sly smile.



Example sentence:

If your wife finds out about all of your extracurricular activities, she’s going to take you to the cleaners.

BONUS VOCAB: take someone to the cleaners

take someone to the cleaners = to take all of someone’s money or possessions, sometimes in an unfair way (in this example, I’m saying that she will divorce him and get the house, large alimony payments, etc., so that he will be left with few possessions)


That’s all for today, Steppers!


You have now completed Day 9 of the love vocabulary challenge! With these affair synonyms, you have no excuse to use the same word over and over. Next time you find yourself wanting to say ‘affair’, use one of these vocabulary words instead. Although all of them are in common use by native English speakers, they really won’t expect a non-native speaker to know them. You’ll be sure to delight them with your colorful advanced English vocabulary!




Part 1: Vocabulary for Types of Kisses (5 words)

Part 2: Advanced English Words about Secret Meetings for Lovers (6 words)

Part 3: Quirky English Words for Lovers (6 words)

Part 4: Fun English Terms of Endearment (6 words)

Part 5: Seducer Synonyms (6 words)

Part 6: Colorful English Words for Irresistible Women (6 words)

Part 7: Advanced English Vocab for Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas (5 words)

Part 8: Romantic English Songs for Your Valentine’s Day Playlist (no vocab, culture only)

Part 9: Affair Synonyms in English (5 words)




Part 10: Romantic Adjectives for Memorable Compliments (5 words)

Part 11: Funny English Euphemisms for Sex (5 words)

Part 12: Advanced English Words for Flirts (5 words)

Part 13: Cozy English Synonyms for ‘Cuddle’ (5 words)

Part 14: Fascinating Facts about Valentine’s Day (no vocab, culture only)




Skyrocket Your Vocabulary


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