1

affect

noun af·fect \ ˈa-ˌfekt \
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of affect

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

effect vs. affect

Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb 2affect usually has to do with pretense.
    • she affected a cheery disposition despite feeling down
The more common verb 3affect 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

  1. 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 CrossenWall Street Journal5 Oct. 1994
  2. 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 StengelTime16 Sept. 1985
  3. 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 WestScience 84January/February 1984

Recent Examples of affect from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of affect

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 3affect


2

affect

verb af·fect \ ə-ˈfekt , a- \

Definition of affect

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.
3 a 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
intransitive verb
obsolete : incline 2

effect vs. affect

Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb 2affect usually has to do with pretense.
    • she affected a cheery disposition despite feeling down
The more common verb 3affect 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

  1. She pauses and affects the more dramatic tone of a veteran actress. —Chris MundyRolling Stone15 June 1995
  2. She doesn't put herself down, but she does affect a languid Valley Girl drawl to offset the sharpness of her observations … —Ken TuckerEntertainment Weekly7 Oct. 1994
  3. That is all I have, I said, affecting a pathos in my voice. —Flann O'BrianAt Swim-Two-Birds1939

Recent Examples of affect from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of affect

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 3affect

Synonym Discussion of affect

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

3

affect

verb af·fect \ ə-ˈfekt , a- \

Definition of affect

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.

affectability

play \-ˌfek-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

affectable

play \-ˈfek-tə-bəl\ adjective

effect vs. affect

Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb 2affect usually has to do with pretense.
    • she affected a cheery disposition despite feeling down
The more common verb 3affect 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

  1. 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 SimmonsESPN24 June 2002
  2. The Paris adventures of various Russians, including a romance for Dontsov, affect both the newly democratized ones and hard-line party members. —Stanley KauffmannNew Republic27 Feb. 1995
  3. 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 ReportsDecember 1993

Recent Examples of affect from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of affect

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 1do

Synonym Discussion of affect

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

AFFECT Defined for Kids

1

affect

verb af·fect \ ə-ˈfekt \

Definition of affect for Students

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

2

affect

verb

Definition of affect for Students

affected; affecting
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.

Medical Dictionary

1

affect

noun af·fect \ ˈaf-ˌekt \

medical Definition of affect

: the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes — compare feeling 3

2

affect

transitive verb af·fect \ ə-ˈfekt, a- \

medical Definition of affect

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


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