effect

noun
ef·​fect | \i-ˈfekt, e-, ē-, ə-\

Definition of effect 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that inevitably follows an antecedent (such as a cause or agent)

2a : a distinctive impression the color gives the effect of being warm

b : the creation of a desired impression her tears were purely for effect

c(1) : something designed to produce a distinctive or desired impression usually used in plural

(2) effects plural : special effects

3 : the quality or state of being operative : operation the law goes into effect next week

4 : power to bring about a result : influence the content itself of television … is therefore less important than its effectCurrent Biography

5 effects plural : movable property : goods personal effects

6 : an outward sign : appearance

8a : purport, intent

b : basic meaning : essence

in effect

: in substance : virtually the … committee agreed to what was in effect a reduction in the hourly wageCurrent Biography

to the effect

: with the meaning issued a statement to the effect that he would resign

effect

verb
effected; effecting; effects

Definition of effect (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to come into being

2a : to bring about often by surmounting obstacles : accomplish effect a settlement of a dispute

b : to put into operation the duty of the legislature to effect the will of the citizens

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Choose the Right Synonym for effect

Verb

perform, execute, discharge, accomplish, achieve, effect, fulfill mean to carry out or into effect. perform implies action that follows established patterns or procedures or fulfills agreed-upon requirements and often connotes special skill. performed gymnastics execute stresses the carrying out of what exists in plan or in intent. executed the hit-and-run discharge implies execution and completion of appointed duties or tasks. discharged his duties accomplish stresses the successful completion of a process rather than the means of carrying it out. accomplished everything they set out to do achieve adds to accomplish the implication of conquered difficulties. achieve greatness effect adds to achieve an emphasis on the inherent force in the agent capable of surmounting obstacles. effected sweeping reforms fulfill implies a complete realization of ends or possibilities. fulfilled their ambitions

Effect vs. Affect: Usage Guide

Verb

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 effect in a Sentence

Noun

The nation's most solvent individuals—private-equity barons—have not been immune from the ill effects of the credit crunch. — Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 3 Mar. 2008 In the Spanish conquest of the Incas, guns played only a minor role.  … They did produce a big psychological effect on those occasions when they managed to fire. — Jared M. Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1997 Economic effects of such high speed change are also unpredictable and somewhat chilling … — Genevieve Stuttaford, Publisher's Weekly, 29 July 1996 Unlike the venom of coral snakes, fer-de-lance venom has no direct effect on the nervous system but digests muscle, destroys blood cells and causes hemorrhaging and massive edema (swelling). — Robert K. Colwell, Natural History, April 1985 He now needs more of the drug to achieve the same effect. The experience has had a bad effect on him. Computers have had a profound effect on our lives. The effects of the drug soon wore off. This treatment causes fewer ill effects. The change in policy had little effect on most people. He was able to stop taking the drug without ill effect. The total effect of the painting was one of gloom. The color gives the effect of being warm. He achieves amazing effects with wood.

Verb

As the whole progress of mathematics from its ancient simplicities to what we call its "higher" modern developments has been effected by assuming impossibilities and inconceivabilities, your line of argument does not seem to me conclusive. — Bernard Shaw circa 4 Nov. 1932, in Collected Letters: 1926–19501988 When, at last, rescue is at hand, Jewitt has no hesitation in lying to his old friend and master, Maquinna, in order to effect his escape, although he does persuade the captain of the brig Lydia not to kill the chief. — Carolyn Kizer, New York Times Book Review, 21 Feb. 1988 I had just written the Gossets that your address was Drujon Lane, so I would be obliged if you would drop them a card and tell them your release has been effected. — Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being, 1979 Hitherto, while gathering up the discourse of Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Temple, I had not, at the same time, neglected precautions to secure my personal safety; which I thought would be effected, if I could only elude observation. — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847 They are trying to effect a settlement of the dispute. The duty of the legislature is to effect the will of the people.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From Hyland's perspective, this creates the effect of making her lower abdomen protrude a bit. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Sarah Hyland Opens Up About Dialysis and Her Second Kidney Transplant," 10 Dec. 2018 The study determined that the lasting effects of domestication on these animals may have given them the ability to not only discriminate between emotions on non-goat faces, but also to prefer happy faces. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Goats Are the Only Men Allowed to Tell Me to Smile," 30 Nov. 2018 To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that In an Instagram selfie posted after the video was filmed, Kylie poses to give the full effect of her perfectly pink routine. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Created a Beauty Tutorial for Wearing Bright Pink Eyeshadow," 29 Nov. 2018 New research is suggesting that lifestyle adjustments might help to lessen the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Discover Magazine, "Table of Contents Dec 2018," 24 Nov. 2018 The Inland Empire is far from alone in feeling the effects of this industry’s rapid expansion. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Because there is virtually no data behind the treatment and it hasn't been approved by the FDA, experts (along with Allure editors) are unclear of the long-term effects of the procedure and urge those interested to tread with extreme caution. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "What Is Semi-Permanent BB Cream, and Why Are People Getting It Microneedled Into Their Faces?," 9 Nov. 2018 The mind boggles at the combined effect of royal siblings George, Charlotte, and Louis and their cousin-to-be baby Sussex. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Tour of Australia Is Crucial to the Future of the Monarchy," 1 Nov. 2018 Hot off the United Nations warning us about the impending effects of global warming, Cities: Skylines is getting an Industries expansion—like the polar opposite of last year’s Green Cities utopia. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Walking Dead resurrected, Baldur's Gate 3 rumors, Into the Breach done quick," 12 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'effect.' 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 effect

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 8a

Verb

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for effect

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin effectus, from efficere to bring about, from ex- + facere to make, do — more at do

Verb

see effect entry 1

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Learn More about effect

Dictionary Entries near effect

effable

efface

effacement

effect

effecter

effectful

effectible

Statistics for effect

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for effect

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

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More Definitions for effect

effect

noun

English Language Learners Definition of effect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a change that results when something is done or happens : an event, condition, or state of affairs that is produced by a cause

: a particular feeling or mood created by something

: an image or a sound that is created in television, radio, or movies to imitate something real

effect

verb

English Language Learners Definition of effect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (something) : to make (something) happen

: to cause (something) to produce the desired result

effect

noun
ef·​fect | \i-ˈfekt \

Kids Definition of effect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an event, condition, or state of affairs that is produced by a cause : influence Computers have had an important effect on the way people work.

2 : the act of making a certain impression The tears were only for effect.

3 : execution sense 2, operation The law goes into effect today.

4 effects plural : personal property or possessions household effects

5 : something created in film, television, or radio to imitate something real sound effects

in effect

: in actual fact The suggestion was in effect an order.

effect

verb
effected; effecting

Kids Definition of effect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make happen : bring about effect a change

effect

noun
ef·​fect | \i-ˈfekt \

Medical Definition of effect 

: something that is produced by an agent or cause obtained the same effect with a smaller dose

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effect

noun
ef·​fect

Legal Definition of effect 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is produced by an agent or cause

2  plural : personal property sense 1 at property : goods the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizuresU.S. Constitution amend. IV

3 : the quality or state of being operative when the new law goes into effect

Legal Definition of effect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause to come into being

2 : to bring about often by surmounting obstacles effect a settlement of the dispute

3 : to put into operation the duty of the legislature to effect the will of the citizens

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More from Merriam-Webster on effect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with effect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for effect

Spanish Central: Translation of effect

Nglish: Translation of effect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of effect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on effect

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