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

Example Sentences

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 Century girls soccer won the Class 2A state championship in a total team effort. Anthony Maluso, Baltimore Sun, 20 Nov. 2022 Chez Mellusi returned after missing four games because of a broken right wrist, added 98 yards on 21 carries in a remarkable effort. Isaac Guerendo had a huge 27-yard catch on the winning touchdown drive and finished with 42 yards on nine carries. Jeff Potrykus, Journal Sentinel, 19 Nov. 2022 A year later, Democrats elected Hoyer as minority whip, replacing Bonior who left Congress and ran a losing effort for Michigan governor. Beatrice Peterson, ABC News, 18 Nov. 2022 Peyton Frazer scored 16 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 5 blocks in the losing effort. al, 18 Nov. 2022 Now, in a last ditch effort before an upcoming musical performance, the orchestra is asking for the public’s help tracking the papers down. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Nov. 2022 In a last-ditch effort to hold the nation together, Webster signed on to a package of legislation that would go down in infamy as the Compromise of 1850. David Marques, The New Republic, 15 Nov. 2022 O’Brien played a big role in a dominant defensive effort as the host Caravan shut out the Crusaders in the first half and rolled to a 48-12 victory in a Class 7A state quarterfinal. Steve Millar, Chicago Tribune, 13 Nov. 2022 Hayes also had nine rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal in a bounce-back effort. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 11 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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

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