affect

verb (1)
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt How to pronounce affect (audio) , a-\
affected; affecting; affects

Definition of affect

 (Entry 1 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.

affect

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

Definition of affect (Entry 2 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 (2)
af·​fect | \ ə-ˈfekt How to pronounce affect (audio) , a-\
affected; affecting; affects

Definition of affect (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from affect

Verb (1)

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)

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

Verb (2)

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

Effect vs. Affect: Usage Guide

Noun

Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb affect entry 3 usually has to do with pretense. she affected a cheery disposition despite feeling down The more common verb affect entry 1 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

Verb (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 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

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 (2)

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Boutt said the study could affect how scientists look at such events in the future. Breanne Kovatch, BostonGlobe.com, "Wait, that water could still be here? Stormwater could last up to 5 years in streams, researchers say," 21 June 2019 Fritts has said his beliefs didn't affect his work in the sheriff's office. CBS News, "Cracker Barrel cancels church event over pastor's LGBT execution remarks," 19 June 2019 Progressive Field will remain closed to all staff members and team personnel for safety purposes, but operations in the team’s Executive Office Building will not be affected. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "SWAT officers to shoot live ammo Wednesday night at Progressive Field for All-Star Game training," 19 June 2019 The new details about the lead-up to his endorsement of Mr. Trump have not affected Mr. Falwell’s continued enthusiastic support. Frances Robles, New York Times, "The Evangelical, the ‘Pool Boy,’ the Comedian and Michael Cohen," 18 June 2019 Some researchers have pointed out that graduate student unions don’t seem to have harmed the public universities that allow them (such unions, which are permissible in many states, would not be affected by the federal government’s decision). Tyler Cowen, Twin Cities, "Tyler Cowen: Keep unions away from graduate students at private universities," 17 June 2019 So the extermination industry uses anticoagulants, or blood thinners, which don’t affect rats for hours and don’t kill them for several days. Charlie Hamilton James, National Geographic, "How rats became an inescapable part of city living," 17 June 2019 The champions of open borders made sure that such influxes did not materially affect their own neighborhoods, schools, and privileged way of life. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?," 13 June 2019 But John Christy, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, argued that the proposal would not affect emissions at all. Maxine Joselow, Scientific American, "EPA’s Science Advisory Board to Scrutinize Clean Car Rollback," 12 June 2019

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

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (2)

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

History and Etymology for affect

Verb (1)

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

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 1

Verb (2)

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 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about affect

Statistics for affect

Last Updated

24 Jun 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 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 also : a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion … patients … showed perfectly normal reactions and affects— Oliver Sacks
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

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

having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!