ef·fort | \ ˈe-fərt , -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

In general, the Trump administration’s, or Trump’s, efforts are very disingenuous, because European countries already agreed in 2014 to start increasing their military spending. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?," 12 July 2018 Noah Karvelis, one of the leaders of Arizona Educators United, said that effort came from teachers realizing that the Legislature adjourned without meeting the demands laid out ahead of the April walkout. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Arizona elections: #RedForEd, public education issues make way onto November ballot," 12 July 2018 In Oregon, Klan efforts were almost exclusively anti-Catholic, mentioning Jews only occasionally. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 Under President Donald Trump, Washington has largely given up that effort. Brad Heath, USA TODAY, "Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray's death. A wave of killings followed.," 12 July 2018 That effort was scrapped in November when an adult female vaquita died after a few hours in captivity. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "To save the world's rarest marine mammal, conservationists seek ban on Mexican seafood imports," 11 July 2018 An effort is underway to replace the classroom materials. Ramona Sentinel, "Vandals ransack classrooms at James Dukes Elementary School," 11 July 2018 However, Croatia's best efforts to grab an equaliser were seemingly all quelled by Harry Maguire, who channeled his inner...monster truck (?)... SI.com, "'Super Mario': Twitter Reacts as the Three Lions Are Sent Home By Mario Mandzukic," 11 July 2018 That effort ultimately failed, and Elian Gonzalez was repatriated in April 2000. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has worked on high-profile South Florida cases," 10 July 2018

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

Statistics for effort

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for effort

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for effort



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 \

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

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).


characteristic trappings or dress

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!