ef·​fec·​tu·​al i-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce effectual (audio)
: producing or able to produce a desired effect
effectuality noun
i-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l-nəs How to pronounce effectual (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for effectual

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

Examples of effectual in a Sentence

after trying many remedies for the condition, he finally found an effectual one that actually helped
Recent Examples on the Web Others argue even if wilderness therapy is effectual for some, its premise is flawed. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2024 No doubt as long as man and all other animals are viewed as independent creations, an effectual stop is put to our natural desire to investigate as far as possible the causes of expression. Kat McGowan, Discover Magazine, 29 Feb. 2012 The road to a systemic overhaul has been rocky ; the process itself has been marked by internal fighting and a reluctance among some members to embrace effectual change. Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2022 For more than 150 years, HBCUs have played a vital role in ensuring that African Americans and students of all races can receive a competitive education and become influential leaders and effectual changemakers. Glamour, 26 May 2022 The comedy of Dugan’s writing and delivery aren’t all that effectual. Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2021 The work continues—certainly more effectual, if not louder, than the sound bites. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2020 Susan’s affectionate, dexterous, sensible activity was never more wanted, or more effectual. Longreads, 27 Mar. 2020 The most that can be decisively taken from all this is that the factors that render radical action productive or counterproductive, effectual or ineffectual, are complex. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 30 May 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'effectual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English effectuel, effectual "efficacious, effective, legally binding," borrowed from Anglo-French effectuel, borrowed from Medieval Latin effectuālis, from Latin effectu-, stem of effectus "achievement, result, effect entry 1" + -ālis -al entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of effectual was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near effectual

Cite this Entry

“Effectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effectual. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ef·​fec·​tu·​al i-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce effectual (audio)
: producing or able to produce the desired result
an effectual remedy
effectualness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on effectual

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!