affect

noun
af·​fect | \ ˈa-ˌfekt \

Definition of affect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 [ German Affekt, borrowed from Latin affectus ] : the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes also : a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion … patients … showed perfectly normal reactions and affects— Oliver Sacks
2 obsolete : feeling, affection

affect

verb (1)
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt , a-\
affected; affecting; affects

Definition of affect (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to make a display of liking or using : cultivate affect a worldly manner
2 : to put on a pretense of : feign affect indifference, though deeply hurt He affected a French accent.
3a archaic : to have affection for
b : to be given to : fancy affect flashy clothes
4 : to tend toward drops of water affect roundness
5 : frequent
6 archaic : to aim at

affect

verb (2)
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt , a-\
affected; affecting; affects

Definition of affect (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to produce an effect upon: such as
a : to produce a material influence upon or alteration in Paralysis affected his limbs.
b : to act upon (a person, a person's mind or feelings, etc.) so as to effect a response : influence We were all greatly affected by the terrible news.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from affect

Verb (2)

affectability \ -​ˌfek-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
affectable \ -​ˈfek-​tə-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for affect

Verb (1)

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive. assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling. affected an interest in art pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance. pretended that nothing had happened simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something. cosmetics that simulate a suntan feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate. feigned sickness counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words. an actor counterfeiting drunkenness sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible. shammed a most unconvincing limp

Verb (2)

affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction. the sight affected her to tears influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior). our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming. plants touched by frost his emotions were touched by her distress impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect. only one of the plans impressed him strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation. struck by the solemnity of the occasion sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action. politicians who are swayed by popular opinion

Effect vs. Affect: Usage Guide

Noun

Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb affect entry 2 usually has to do with pretense. she affected a cheery disposition despite feeling down The more common verb affect entry 3 denotes having an effect or influence. the weather affected everyone's mood The verb effect goes beyond mere influence; it refers to actual achievement of a final result. the new administration hopes to effect a peace settlement The uncommon noun affect, which has a meaning relating to psychology, is also sometimes mistakenly used for the very common effect. In ordinary use, the noun you will want is effect. waiting for the new law to take effect the weather had an effect on everyone's mood

Examples of affect in a Sentence

Noun

There's a good plot and good writing here, but Mallory's gender neutrality, conspicuous in her lack of affect, makes her seem like a comic-book character. — Cynthia Crossen, Wall Street Journal, 5 Oct. 1994 Many of these young killers display an absence of what psychiatrists call affect. They show no discernible emotional reaction to what they have done. — Richard Stengel, Time, 16 Sept. 1985 The way people respond to this is sometimes called "depressed affect"—a sort of mental shifting into neutral that psychologists say also happens to prisoners of war, submarine crews, and other people in confined situations with little stimulus. — Susan West, Science 84, January/February 1984

Verb (1)

She pauses and affects the more dramatic tone of a veteran actress. — Chris Mundy, Rolling Stone, 15 June 1995 She doesn't put herself down, but she does affect a languid Valley Girl drawl to offset the sharpness of her observations … — Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, 7 Oct. 1994 That is all I have, I said, affecting a pathos in my voice. — Flann O'Brian, At Swim-Two-Birds, 1939

Verb (2)

As strange as this sounds, the negative karma probably affected the actual games, the way a gambler who constantly dwells on his bad luck can derail an entire blackjack table. — Bill Simmons, ESPN, 24 June 2002 The Paris adventures of various Russians, including a romance for Dontsov, affect both the newly democratized ones and hard-line party members. — Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic, 27 Feb. 1995 These programs, known as secret warranties or silent recalls, often involve a problem that affects a vehicle's safety or performance but that isn't the cause of a formal Federal recall. Consumer Reports, December 1993
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meghan and Harry’s visit to Birkenhead set the tone for their 2019, establishing them as a formidable double act with what is emerging as a relentless determination to use their hugely high profile positions to affect positive change. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "With Today's Visit to Birkenhead, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Gave a Preview of What's to Come for in 2019," 14 Jan. 2019 But your dorkiness shouldn't be affected or diminished because your sick spin-and-jump move isn't matched with a sick saber sound effect. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Hands-on with a $434 replica lightsaber: May the dork be with you," 25 Dec. 2018 Both Northern and Southern California are affected, with 2018 being one of the most destructive fire seasons in California history. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Here's What You Can Do To Help People Who Have Lost Their Homes In The California Wildfires," 12 Nov. 2018 Rabies affects mammals and is generally transmitted via the bite or scratch of an animal carrying the virus. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "What Happens When You Get Rabies? An Epidemiologist Explains," 24 Jan. 2019 How all this affects most workers isn’t quite clear. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "U.S. retailers hope higher pay will buy more efficient workers," 1 Jan. 2019 As the Center for American Progress has pointed out, this disproportionately affects people of color, especially men of color, who face higher incarceration rates. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Voter Suppression in the 2018 Midterms," 29 Oct. 2018 While Charlie and Bumblebee have an emotionally affecting relationship, the movie still suffers from tonal swings, particularly around John Cena’s portrayal of Agent Burns. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Bumblebee proves Transformers movies can actually be resonant and emotional," 20 Dec. 2018 Even innocuous things like air, water, sunlight will affect the hair cuticle. Marci Robin, Allure, "This Super-Long Ombré Hair Transformation Is a Feat of Color-Correction Magic," 13 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of affect

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 6

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for affect

Noun

Middle English, "capacity for emotion, emotion, desire, will," borrowed from Latin affectus "mental state, mood, feeling, affection," from afficere "to produce an effect on, exert an influence on" + -tus, suffix of verbal action — more at affect entry 3

Verb (1)

Middle English affecten "to desire," borrowed from Anglo-French affeter, affecter "to change, seek after," borrowed from Latin affectāre "to try to accomplish, strive after, pretend to have," frequentative derivative of afficere "to produce an effect on, exert an influence on" — more at affect entry 3

Verb (2)

Middle English affecten, borrowed from Latin affectus, past participle of afficere "to produce an effect on, exert an influence on," from ad- ad- + facere "to do, make, bring about" — more at fact

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about affect

Statistics for affect

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affect

The first known use of affect was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for affect

affect

verb
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt \
affected; affecting

Kids Definition of affect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pretend that a false behavior or feeling is natural or genuine She affected surprise upon hearing the news.

affect

verb
affected; affecting

Kids Definition of affect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to have an effect on I hope this disagreement won't affect our friendship. The oceans are affected by the moon.
2 : to cause strong emotions in … the Tin Woodman … was strongly affected by this sad speech.— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
3 : to cause illness in Rabies can affect dogs and cats.

affect

noun
af·​fect | \ ˈaf-ˌekt \

Medical Definition of affect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes — compare feeling sense 3
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt, a- \

Medical Definition of affect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to produce an effect upon especially : to produce a material influence upon or alteration in paralysis affected his limbs

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on affect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with affect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for affect

Spanish Central: Translation of affect

Nglish: Translation of affect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on affect

What made you want to look up affect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!