Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Affiliate


Quick Summary of Affiliate

A person or organisation officially attached to a larger body. In online retail, a website that will steer traffic to an alternative site for a percentage of sales.

What is the dictionary definition of Affiliate?

Dictionary Definition

Officially attach or connect (a subsidiary group or a person) to an organization.

Someone or something, especially, a television station, that is associated with a larger, related organisation, as a television network; a member of a group of associated things.

An affiliate is a company or person linked to another company in some sense.

In the UK, the concept has no legal status.

Full Definition of Affiliate

1. Commerce: Two parties are affiliates if either party has the power to control the other, or a third party controls or has the power to control both. Affiliation also exists in (1) in interlocking directorates or ownership, (2) an identity of interests among members of a family and, (3) where employees, equipment, and/or facilities, are shared. Affiliates are subject to greater than normal legal prohibitions and requirements to guard against insider trading. See also subsidiary.
2. Electronic commerce: Firm which sells other merchants’ products at its own website. Visitors to the firm’s website may order merchandise from there, but the sale is transacted actually at the principal’s site who passes on a commission to the website from where the order originated.

The term affiliate can be defined in two different ways when used in a business context. When discussing corporate laws or corporate taxes, the term affiliate is used to describe a company that is closely related to another company. Generally, this affiliate company holds a subordinate role or a primary role as a partner. There are three different ways that a company may be affiliated with a larger corporation. They can own shares of a larger corporation, hold a minority interest in the large scale business, or simply be a subsidiary affiliate company. In online retail, a larger company may choose to affiliate with another individually owned company by giving them the option to sell their personal products or services to the public. The large scale business will render a commission to their affiliate companies, but remain the sole proprietor of the larger scale business. In the virtual world, this arrangement is referred to as an affiliate network or affiliate marketing.

Examples of Affiliate in a sentence

As a new affiliate, you’ll probably spend want to some time browsing our product range to identify which products would be beneficial to your customers.
The sign-on bonus provided to the affiliate sites has been more than made up in the increased traffic and sales.
As an affiliate of that online bookstore, the local library gets .25% of all sales that come through their website.
Our local TV channel is an affiliate of NBC.

Synonyms For Affiliate

associate, ally, connect, join, affiliated company

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Affiliate. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
May 27, 2023
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Affiliate. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: May 27, 2023).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Affiliate. Retrieved May 27, 2023
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Affiliate are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 15th February, 2020 | 0 Views.