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adjective ef·fi·cient \i-ˈfi-shənt\

Simple Definition of efficient

  • : capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of efficient

  1. 1 :  being or involving the immediate agent in producing an effect <the efficient action of heat in changing water to steam>

  2. 2 :  productive of desired effects; especially :  productive without waste <an efficient worker>



Examples of efficient in a sentence

  1. Like a page-turner of a novel, [Nomar] Garciaparra keeps you eager to see what comes next, especially this season, when he will have the most efficient RBI machine in baseball, free-agent signee Manny Ramirez, riding shotgun with him. —Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 5 Mar. 2001

  2. Originally designed for the preparation of desserts, the woks eventually proved their versatility as efficient vessels for stir-frying, deep-frying, and the reduction of liquids. —Kemp Miles Minifie, Gourmet, November 1988

  3. Wilde was wearing two emeralds, … one on the little finger of each hand. That on the left was the efficient cause of all joys, that on the right of misfortunes. Asked why he continued to wear the one on the right, Wilde said, “One needs misfortunes to live happily.” —Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, (1984) 1988

  4. Short and muscular, he is as efficient as a surgeon, cracking eggs with one hand and tossing the shells into the basket under the counter behind him without looking, flipping bread into the slots of a row of toasters, and literally throwing “to go” orders ten feet down the counter to the guy manning the cash register. —Paul Baumann, Commonweal, 18 July 1997

  5. <that manual lawn mower is not a very efficient tool for doing a huge yard>

Origin and Etymology of efficient

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin efficient-, efficiens, from present participle of efficere

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of efficient

effective, effectual, efficient, efficacious mean producing or capable of producing a result. effective stresses the actual production of or the power to produce an effect <an effective rebuttal>. effectual suggests the accomplishment of a desired result especially as viewed after the fact <the measures to stop the pilfering proved effectual>. efficient suggests an acting or a potential for action or use in such a way as to avoid loss or waste of energy in effecting, producing, or functioning <an efficient small car>. efficacious suggests possession of a special quality or virtue that gives effective power <a detergent that is efficacious in removing grease>.

EFFICIENT Defined for Kids


adjective ef·fi·cient \i-ˈfi-shənt\

Definition of efficient for Students

  1. :  capable of bringing about a desired result with little waste (as of time or energy) <an efficient worker>



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to permeate or influence as if by dyeing

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