affirmative (adj.) Look up affirmative at
"answering 'yes,' " mid-15c., from use in logic; from Middle French affirmatif (13c.), from Latin affirmativus, from affirmat-, past participle stem of affirmare "to make steady; strengthen; confirm," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)).

As a noun from early 15c. Affirmative action "positive or corrective effort by employers to prevent discrimination in hiring or promotion" is attested from 1935 with regard to labor unions; specific racial sense is from 1961; now often used in reference to hiring quotas, etc.