Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective efficacious contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of efficacious are effective, effectual, and efficient. While all these words mean "producing or capable of producing a result," efficacious suggests possession of a special quality or virtue that gives effective power.

a detergent that is efficacious in removing grease

When is effective a more appropriate choice than efficacious?

In some situations, the words effective and efficacious are roughly equivalent. However, effective stresses the actual production of or the power to produce an effect.

an effective rebuttal

When would effectual be a good substitute for efficacious?

Although the words effectual and efficacious have much in common, effectual suggests the accomplishment of a desired result especially as viewed after the fact.

the measures to stop the pilfering proved effectual

When can efficient be used instead of efficacious?

While the synonyms efficient and efficacious are close in meaning, 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


Thesaurus Entries Near efficacious

Cite this Entry

“Efficacious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on efficacious

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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