affect

noun
af·​fect | \ ˈa-ˌfekt How to pronounce affect (audio) \

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 How to pronounce affect (audio) , 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 How to pronounce affect (audio) , 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.

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Other Words from affect

Verb (2)

affectability \ -​ˌfek-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce affectability (audio) \ noun
affectable \ -​ˈfek-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce affectable (audio) \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There are so many factors that affect the end result (air temperature, water temperature, oven temperature. . Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019 Having chronic conditions that affect your immune system, like diabetes and HIV, can also predispose you to fungal acne. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "How to Know if You Have 'Fungal Acne'—and How to Treat it," 1 Apr. 2019 Graves’ disease is a long-life condition that affects the thyroid, causing anxiety, heat sensitivity, and weight loss, among other symptoms. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "'Wendy Williams Show' Fans Have Mixed Reactions to Her Comeback Show," 4 Mar. 2019 When scientists made the link between amyloid and Alzheimer’s in the 1980s, drugmakers jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of inventing a trillion-dollar drug for a progressive and fatal disease that affects more than 5 million Americans. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 South of Baton Rouge, the Army Corps determined, there was no more significant inflow that would affect the river’s potential to flood. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Apparently, there's also width, length, and placement to think about, as these all affect what your set is like. Glamour, "Are You Wearing the Right Bra for Your Breast Type?," 28 Mar. 2019 And a 2018 Pew Research Center study found that most Americans feel climate change is currently affecting their local community, at least to some degree. Gene Balk / Fyi Guy, The Seattle Times, "Where might voters support a Green New Deal? Seattle ranks high, new survey data show," 26 Mar. 2019 There was also some concern that a looming government shutdown might affect operations this weekend. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch SpaceX launch its final Falcon 9 rocket of the year for the Air Force," 21 Dec. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for affect

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

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More Definitions for affect

affect

verb
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt How to pronounce affect (audio) \
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 How to pronounce affect (audio) \

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- How to pronounce affect (audio) \

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

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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

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