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[uh-fekt] /əˈfɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to give the appearance of; pretend or feign:
to affect knowledge of the situation.
to assume artificially, pretentiously, or for effect:
to affect a Southern accent.
to use, wear, or adopt by preference; choose; prefer:
the peculiar costume he affected.
to assume the character or attitude of:
to affect the freethinker.
(of things) to tend toward habitually or naturally:
a substance that affects colloidal form.
(of animals and plants) to occupy or inhabit; live in or on:
Lions affect Africa. Moss affects the northern slopes.
  1. to have affection for; fancy.
  2. to aim at; aspire to.
verb (used without object)
Obsolete. to incline, tend, or favor (usually followed by to):
He affects to the old ways.
Origin of affect2
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle French affecter < Latin affectāre to strive after, feign (frequentative of afficere to do to), equivalent to af- af- + fec- (see affect1) + -tāre frequentative suffix
Related forms
affecter, noun
1. See pretend.
Usage note
See affect1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for affecters


verb (transitive) (əˈfɛkt)
to act upon or influence, esp in an adverse way: damp affected the sparking plugs
to move or disturb emotionally or mentally: her death affected him greatly
(of pain, disease, etc) to attack
noun (ˈæfɛkt; əˈfɛkt)
(psychol) the emotion associated with an idea or set of ideas See also affection
Word Origin
C17: from Latin affectus, past participle of afficere to act upon, from ad- to + facere to do


verb (mainly transitive)
to put on an appearance or show of; make a pretence of: to affect ignorance
to imitate or assume, esp pretentiously: to affect an accent
to have or use by preference: she always affects funereal clothing
to adopt the character, manner, etc, of: he was always affecting the politician
(of plants or animals) to live or grow in: penguins affect an arctic climate
to incline naturally or habitually towards: falling drops of liquid affect roundness
Word Origin
C15: from Latin affectāre to strive after, pretend to have; related to afficere to affect1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for affecters



late 14c., "mental state," from Latin noun use of affectus "furnished, supplied, endowed," figuratively "disposed, constituted, inclined," past participle of afficere "to do; treat, use, manage, handle; act on; have influence on, do something to," a verb of broad meaning, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + facere (past participle factus) "do" (see factitious). Perhaps obsolete except in psychology. Related: Affects.


"to make an impression on," 1630s; earlier "to attack" (c.1600), "act upon, infect" (early 15c.), from affect (n.). Related: Affected; affecting.

"to make a pretense of," 1660s, earlier "to assume the character of (someone)" (1590s); originally in English "to aim at, aspire to, desire" (early 15c.), from Middle French affecter (15c.), from Latin affectare "to strive after, aim at," frequentative of afficere (past participle affectus) "to do something to, act on" (see affect (n.)). Related: Affected; affecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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affecters in Medicine

affect af·fect (ə-fěkt')
v. af·fect·ed, af·fect·ing, af·fects

  1. To have an influence on or affect a change in.

  2. To attack or infect, as a disease.

n. (āf'ěkt')
  1. A feeling or emotion as distinguished from thought, or action.

  2. A strong feeling with active consequences.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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