effective

adjective
ef·​fec·​tive | \ i-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce effective (audio) , e-, ē-, ə-\

Definition of effective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect an effective policy
b : impressive, striking a gold lamé fabric studded with effective … precious stones— Stanley Marcus
2 : being in effect : operative the tax becomes effective next year
3 : actual the need to increase effective demand for goods
4 : ready for service or action effective manpower
5 of a rate of interest : equal to the rate of simple interest that yields the same amount when the interest is paid once at the end of the interest period as a quoted rate of interest does when calculated at compound interest over the same period — compare nominal sense 4

effective

noun

Definition of effective (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is effective (see effective entry 1) especially : a soldier equipped for duty

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Other Words from effective

Adjective

effectiveness noun
effectivity \ ˌe-​ˌfek-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce effectivity (audio) , i-​ , ē-​ , ə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for effective

Adjective

effective, effectual, efficient, efficacious mean producing or capable of producing a result. effective stresses the actual production of or the power to produce an effect. an effective rebuttal effectual suggests the accomplishment of a desired result especially as viewed after the fact. the measures to stop the pilfering proved effectual efficient suggests an acting or a potential for action or use in such a way as to avoid loss or waste of energy in effecting, producing, or functioning. an efficient small car efficacious suggests possession of a special quality or virtue that gives effective power. a detergent that is efficacious in removing grease

Comparing Efficient, Effective, and Proficient

Adjective

These three words cover some overlapping territory.

Efficient most often describes what is capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy. While the word can be applied to both people and things, it is far more commonly applied to things, such as machines, systems, processes, and organizations. The focus of the word is on how little is wasted or lost while the desired results are produced.

Effective typically describes things—such as policies, treatments, arguments, and techniques—that do what they are intended to do. People can also be described as effective when they accomplish what they set out to accomplish, but the word is far more often applied to things.

Proficient typically describes people, and it often is followed by the preposition at. If you are proficient at something, you are very good at it. You are, in fact, so good at doing it that you are unusually efficient when you do it. One can also be proficient in something, such as a language.

Examples of effective in a Sentence

Adjective

These commercials were extremely effective as marketing tools, but we now know that chocolate swimming pools and candy-coating showers play no part in the manufacture of real M&M's. Instead, the ellipsoid chocolate centers of plain M&M's are formed by machines. — David Owen, Atlantic, October 1988 My feeling is that by waiting for the right moment to let rip, a film is infinitely more effective, especially with characters you have come to like. — Clive Barker, in Cinefantastique, September 1987 But Tammy's most effective remedy for stress, both then and now, was the same as Imelda Marcos's: shopping up a storm. "It's kind of a hobby to help my nerves," she explained … — Jean Seligman, Newsweek, 8 June 1987 It's a simple but effective technique. He gave an effective speech.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Hers was perhaps not the most organized protocol, and, sure, a lot of people don't want to have to send their friends effective invoices for three months. Glamour, "Here's How to Make the Absolute Most Out of Your Credit Card Points," 19 Apr. 2019 With Advocates for Youth’s youth-adult partnerships model, it has been shown that programs are more sustainable and effective with youth are partners in their design, development, and implementation. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "What These 4 Young People Want You to Know About HIV," 10 Apr. 2019 In case of a crash, a bulky coat can make the restraints too loose to be properly effective. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Here's When Target's Popular Car Seat Trade-In Event Is Happening," 9 Apr. 2019 For the potential donor, effective giving in response to disastersrequires looking at potential charities with an eye for where your money matters. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why disaster relief is so hard," 25 Mar. 2019 Ginsburg has modified her judicial wardrobe over the years with a polite, yet effective hand, mirroring her careful adjudication style (she is known for her meticulous dissents). Marley Marius, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsberg! An Ode to the Supreme Court Justice and Her Iconic Accessorizing," 15 Mar. 2019 Would this type of offer provide a more cost-effective commute to work, and perhaps pull more commuters away from public transit and toward Lyft? Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Lyft’s Personal Plan wants to entice riders with fixed rates on frequent trips," 31 July 2018 At the age of 23, this African-American chemist developed the most effective treatment of leprosy during the early 20th century. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 Spirit was recognized for being one of the most cost-effective airlines to fly, but has the stingiest seat pitch (just 28 inches on average). Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "These Are the Top 10 Airlines in the World," 20 Mar. 2019

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1708, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for effective

Adjective

Middle English effectif, borrowed from Late Latin effectīvus "producing a result, efficient," going back to Latin, "involving an end product," from effectus, past participle of efficere "to make, bring about, produce, carry out" + -īvus -ive — more at effect entry 1

Noun

derivative of effective entry 1

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Statistics for effective

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for effective

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

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More Definitions for effective

effective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of effective

: producing a result that is wanted : having an intended effect
of a law, rule, etc. : in use
: starting at a particular time

effective

adjective
ef·​fec·​tive | \ i-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce effective (audio) \

Kids Definition of effective

1 : producing or able to produce a desired effect effective medicines
2 : impressive an effective speech
3 : being in operation The rule is effective immediately.

Other Words from effective

effectively adverb
effectiveness noun

effective

adjective
ef·​fec·​tive | \ i-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce effective (audio) \

Medical Definition of effective

: producing a decided, decisive, claimed, or desired effect a drug judged effective by an evaluating panel

Other Words from effective

effectively adverb
effectiveness noun

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effective

adjective
ef·​fec·​tive

Legal Definition of effective

1 : producing a desired effect an effective revocation of the contract
2 : capable of bringing about an effect effective assistance of counsel — see also ineffective assistance of counsel
3 : being in effect
4 of a rate of interest : equal to the rate of simple interest that yields the same amount when the rate is paid once at the end of the interest period as a quoted rate of interest does when calculated at compound interest over the same period — compare nominal

Other Words from effective

effectiveness noun

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Comments on effective

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