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Afar vs. Far: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Updated on November 10, 2023
"Afar" is an adverb meaning a great distance away, often used poetically, while "far" is an adverb or adjective describing something at a considerable distance.

Key Differences

Afar is primarily used as an adverb, implying a significant distance and often carrying a poetic or literary connotation. Far, while also an adverb, is more commonly used in everyday language to indicate a physical distance that is relatively large.
The term afar often appears in descriptive or narrative writing, adding a sense of remoteness or vastness. While, far is more versatile, used in various contexts, from casual conversations to formal reports, to express the extent of distance.
Afar tends to evoke a sense of romanticism or mystery, suggesting a distant, almost unreachable place. In contrast, far is a straightforward term, used to convey a clear and measurable distance.
While afar is seldom used in technical or geographical descriptions, far is frequently employed in such contexts to provide specific information about the extent of separation between two points.
In terms of linguistic use, afar is less common and more literary, often found in poetry or classical literature. However, far is a standard word in the English language, widely used and understood in everyday speech.

Comparison Chart

Usage Context

Poetic or literary
Everyday, versatile


Romantic, mysterious
Straightforward, practical

Frequency in Language

Less common, literary
Common, widely used

Suitability for Descriptions

Narrative, descriptive
Technical, geographical

Evoked Sense

Remoteness, vastness
Clear measurable distance

Afar and Far Definitions


Poetically Remote.
He gazed afar, dreaming of adventures.


Extensively Remote.
We traveled far to reach the mountains.


Unreachable Distance.
The castle stood, afar and elusive.


Great Distance.
The park is far from my house.


Literarily Far Away.
Tales of lands afar always fascinated her.


Long Ago.
In the far past, this land was a forest.


Distant Place.
I admired the mountains from afar.


Wide Range.
The news spread far and wide.


Far in Vision.
She watched the ships sailing afar.


To a Large Extent.
His ideas are far different from mine.


From, at, or to a great distance
Saw it afar off.
Traveled afar.


To, from, or at a considerable distance
A cat that had strayed far from home.


A long distance
Tales from afar.


To, from, or at a much earlier or later time
A movie that takes place far in the future.


A member of a people of Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.


To a considerable degree; much
Felt far better yesterday.
Eyes that seemed far too close together.


The Cushitic language of the Afar.


At, to, or from a great distance; far away.
He was seen from afar.
He loved her from afar.


At, to, or from a great distance; far away; - often used with from preceding, or off following; as, he was seen from afar; I saw him afar off.
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar.


(old-fashioned) at or from or to a great distance; far;
We traveled afar
We could see the ship afar off
The Magi came from afar


What type of speech is afar?

It’s an adverb.

What does afar mean?

A great distance away, often with a poetic or romantic implication.

What does far mean?

At, to, or by a great distance; used to describe a considerable extent of space.

Is far versatile in usage?

Yes, it's used in various contexts, from casual to formal.

Which word would be used in a poem?

Afar is more likely to be used in poetry.

Which is more common in everyday speech?

Far is more common in everyday use.

Is afar commonly used in modern language?

It’s less common, often found in literary or poetic contexts.

Can far be used as an adjective?

Yes, e.g., "a far country".

Can afar be used in technical writing?

It’s typically not used in technical contexts due to its poetic nature.

Can afar be used in casual conversation?

It’s less common, but can be used for dramatic effect.

Does far have a romantic connotation?

Not usually; it’s more neutral and practical.

Does far have literary usage?

Yes, but it’s also widely used in non-literary contexts.

Can afar imply a physical or emotional distance?

It typically implies a physical distance but can have an emotional aspect.

Can far describe time as well as distance?

Yes, e.g., "far in the past".

How does far function in a sentence?

As an adverb or adjective, describing distance or extent.

Are there synonyms for afar?

Yes, like "distantly" or "far away".

Is far used globally in English-speaking countries?

Yes, it’s universally understood in English-speaking regions.

Is afar suitable for geographical descriptions?

No, it’s more suited for narrative or descriptive writing.

Is afar used in formal reports?

Rarely, as it’s more literary in nature.

Does far evoke a sense of mystery?

Not typically; it’s straightforward.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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