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effete

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adjective ef·fete \e-ˈfēt, i-\

Simple Definition of effete

  • : lacking strength, courage, or spirit

  • : resembling a woman

Full Definition of effete

  1. 1 :  no longer fertile

  2. 2 a :  having lost character, vitality, or strength <the effete monarchies … of feudal Europe — G. M. Trevelyan> b :  marked by weakness or decadence <the effete East> c :  soft or delicate from or as if from a pampered existence <peddled … trendy tweeds to effete Easterners — William Helmer> <effete tenderfeet>; also :  characteristic of an effete person <a wool scarf … a bit effete on an outdoorsman — Nelson Bryant>

  3. 3 :  effeminate 1 <a good-humored, effete boy brought up by maiden aunts — Herman Wouk>

ef·fete·ly adverb
ef·fete·ness noun

Examples of effete

  1. effete members of the aristocracy

  2. <the soft, effete society that marked the final years of the Roman empire>



Origin of effete

Latin effetus, from ex- + fetus fruitful — more at feminine


First Known Use: 1660



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