ef·​fort ˈe-fərt How to pronounce effort (audio)
: conscious exertion of power : hard work
a job requiring time and effort
: a serious attempt : try
making an effort to reduce costs
: something produced by exertion or trying
the novel was her most ambitious effort
: effective force as distinguished from the possible resistance called into action by such a force
: the total work done to achieve a particular end
the war effort

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 The return of 17 captives held in Gaza sets up another release of Palestinian prisoners, amid efforts to keep the truce in place beyond Monday. Eric Morath, WSJ, 27 Nov. 2023 When Biden took office in 2021, he was determined not to spend his time and energy on fruitless efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Matthew Duss, Foreign Affairs, 27 Nov. 2023 For his efforts, Silverstein received the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award from the DGA in 1985 and was named an honorary life member of the guild in 1990. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Nov. 2023 After 20 children and six educators were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, Jones repeatedly said on his show that the shooting never happened and was staged in an effort to tighten gun laws. CBS News, 27 Nov. 2023 Often, the aircraft passing the tower will wing-wag to acknowledge our efforts, and the helicopters will sound a siren salute. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2023 After the attack, Ms. Haley, who was then governor, went from supporting the efforts of faith groups to resettle refugees in South Carolina to aggressively fighting the Obama administration on the admission of Syrians fleeing violence, citing concerns over the vetting process. Jazmine Ulloa, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023 California California lawmakers revive effort to ban involuntary servitude as punishment for crimes Feb. 27, 2023 Prison officials did not respond to questions about whether the proposal to increase wages is related to the discussion about removing involuntary servitude from the constitution. Anabel Sosa, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2023 The former mayor also faces a criminal racketeering indictment that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis returned in August against him and 18 others, including former President Donald Trump, for efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'effort.' 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 French, from Old French esforz, esfort, from esforcier to force, from ex- + forcier to force

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near effort

Cite this Entry

“Effort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effort. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ef·​fort ˈef-ərt How to pronounce effort (audio)
: hard work of mind or body
requires time and effort
: a serious attempt : try
made a good effort
: something produced by work
this painting was one of my best efforts
: the force applied to a simple machine (as a lever) in contrast to the force applied by it against a load

More from Merriam-Webster on effort

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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