ef·​fort | \ ˈe-fərt How to pronounce effort (audio) , -ˌfȯrt \

Definition of effort

1 : conscious exertion of power : hard work a job requiring time and effort
2 : a serious attempt : try making an effort to reduce costs
3 : something produced by exertion or trying the novel was her most ambitious effort
4 : effective force as distinguished from the possible resistance called into action by such a force
5 : the total work done to achieve a particular end the war effort

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of effort in a Sentence

He put a lot of effort into finishing the project on time. It wasn't easy, but it was worth the effort. We need to expend more effort. The job will require a great deal of time and effort. Our success is due to the combined efforts of many people. Her efforts were rewarded with a new contract. He lost the campaign despite the best efforts of his supporters. Even though they didn't win, the team made a good effort. Her early efforts at writing a novel were awkward. Despite my best efforts, I never found out who she was.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile in China, search and rescue efforts continued on Sunday for survivors from the collapse of a hotel that was being used as a coronavirus quarantine center. Helen Regan, CNN, "Italy announces lockdown as global coronavirus cases surpass 105,000," 8 Mar. 2020 But posts on the company website extoll OFILM’s efforts to accommodate their Uighur workers with Mandarin and politics classes six days a week, along with halal food. Washington Post, "Gadgets for tech giants made with coerced Uighur labor," 7 Mar. 2020 Baldwin Wallace’s suffocating effort squeezed the offensive life out of Haverford and led to a 67-42 victory for the Yellow Jackets. Branson Wright, cleveland, "Quick start ignites Baldwin Wallace women in opening round of Division III NCAA Tournament," 7 Mar. 2020 At one point, Abrams started asking Vesey about PG&E’s efforts to improve its standing with customers, given the fact that its equipment has caused fires that killed more than 100 people in recent years. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E’s bankruptcy exit plan gets a price tag: $57.65 billion," 6 Mar. 2020 What will be the upshot of the party’s effort to stall Sanders? Rich Lowry, National Review, "Thanks to the Democratic Establishment, Biden Is Back," 6 Mar. 2020 Others speculated that the demolition is a part of efforts to build new condos. al, "Alvin’s Island’s demolition costs Panama City Beach another historic icon," 5 Mar. 2020 Nonetheless, sustained efforts in the right direction are sure to yield positive outcomes in more ways than one. Geetika Dayal, Quartz India, "India’s female entrepreneurs can influence a generation—only if given enough support," 5 Mar. 2020 Complicating Hegar’s effort to become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas since 1988 is her runoff. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "MJ Hegar leads in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, but will be in runoff," 4 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'effort.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of effort

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for effort

Middle French, from Old French esforz, esfort, from esforcier to force, from ex- + forcier to force

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about effort

Time Traveler for effort

Time Traveler

The first known use of effort was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for effort

Cite this Entry

“Effort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effort. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for effort


How to pronounce effort (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of effort

: work done by the mind or body : energy used to do something
: a serious attempt to do something
: something produced by work


ef·​fort | \ ˈe-fərt How to pronounce effort (audio) \

Kids Definition of effort

1 : hard physical or mental work : exertion The job took great effort.
2 : a serious attempt : try Make an effort to arrive on time.
3 : something produced by work This photo is one of my best efforts.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on effort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for effort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with effort

Spanish Central: Translation of effort

Nglish: Translation of effort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of effort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on effort

What made you want to look up effort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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