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 While Sullivan begins his new role on Oct. 26, Frear's departure is effective immediately in order to pursue other opportunities. Marc Schneider, Billboard, "SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer Sets Retirement, With Jennifer Witz Taking Over in 2021," 15 Sep. 2020 The ad blitz and Trump’s aggressive rhetoric, by some measures, have been effective. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Trump’s last-ditch drug pricing moves could help him in November. But they likely won’t save Americans money," 15 Sep. 2020 Any quarterback in the NFL who operates in a comfort zone is going to be effective. Dallas News, "Grading the Cowboys: This Dallas team was built on offense, and the offense failed vs. Rams," 14 Sep. 2020 Mayer didn't think that strategy would be effective. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Trump sees his chance to win over black men's votes," 12 Sep. 2020 Mayor Ted Wheeler said Thursday the ban is effective immediately and will last until further notice. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Portland mayor bans cops from using tear gas after months of protests and criticism," 12 Sep. 2020 Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that treestands need to be way up there to be effective. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The Complete Guide to Hunting Deer from a Treestand," 11 Sep. 2020 In a couple weeks, the COVID-19 numbers will tell whether safety measures were effective here. Janet Shamlian, CBS News, "NFL in uncharted territory as new season kicks off amid pandemic," 10 Sep. 2020 If the tear is in the middle of the ligament, the tape might not be effective. La Velle E. Neal Iii, Star Tribune, "Complicated elbow repair has Twins' Rich Hill back on the mound," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In this scenario, infections will decline even if face masks are only 50-percent effective. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Face masks don’t even have to work especially well to be effective," 12 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for effective

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for effective

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Effective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effective. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for effective

effective

adjective
How to pronounce effective (audio)

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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