Definition of efficient
1 : being or involving the immediate agent in producing an effect the efficient action of heat in changing water to steam
2 : productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste an efficient worker
Examples of efficient in a Sentence
Like a page-turner of a novel, [Nomar] Garciaparra keeps you eager to see what comes next, especially this season, when he will have the most efficient RBI machine in baseball, free-agent signee Manny Ramirez, riding shotgun with him. —Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 5 Mar. 2001
Originally designed for the preparation of desserts, the woks eventually proved their versatility as efficient vessels for stir-frying, deep-frying, and the reduction of liquids. —Kemp Miles Minifie, Gourmet, November 1988
Wilde was wearing two emeralds, … one on the little finger of each hand. That on the left was the efficient cause of all joys, that on the right of misfortunes. Asked why he continued to wear the one on the right, Wilde said, “One needs misfortunes to live happily.” —Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, (1984) 1988
Short and muscular, he is as efficient as a surgeon, cracking eggs with one hand and tossing the shells into the basket under the counter behind him without looking, flipping bread into the slots of a row of toasters, and literally throwing “to go” orders ten feet down the counter to the guy manning the cash register. —Paul Baumann, Commonweal, 18 July 1997
that manual lawn mower is not a very efficient tool for doing a huge yard
Recent Examples of efficient from the Web
A wedding is also a stunningly efficient way to contrast the rich inner life of the narrator with the soul-eating vacuity of those who throw themselves with abandon into the planning or the enjoyment of the Happy Day.
Nothing in this guarantees an acceptable distribution of income; one person having everything can be perfectly efficient.
Here are five favorite space-efficient desk styles that really work.
These tests are also not as efficient as in vitro tests, the non-animal testing methods that allow scientists to look at toxicity and basic biological processes, says Marenus.
Today's solar panels are smaller, more efficient and last significantly longer than their earlier counterparts.
Both make the people-moving process more efficient.
But technological changes enabled more efficient farming to take place elsewhere, including on dry land, and southeastern Massachusetts is now dotted with struggling cranberry bogs.
A new state law that allows delivery drivers to use the vehicles on some public roads led UPS to retrofit the vehicles and attach trailers or flatbeds, an attempt to use the most efficient, flexible transport to keep goods moving.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'efficient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Comparing efficient, effective, and proficient
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.
Origin and Etymology of efficient
Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin efficient-, efficiens, from present participle of efficere
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of efficient
EFFICIENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of efficient for English Language Learners
: capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy
EFFICIENT Defined for Kids
Definition of efficient for Students
: capable of bringing about a desired result with little waste (as of time or energy) an efficient worker
Seen and Heard
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