[ verb uh-fekt; noun af-ekt ]
/ verb əˈfɛkt; noun ˈæf ɛkt /
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See synonyms for: affect / affected / affecting / affects on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
to act on; produce an effect or change in: Cold weather affected the crops.
to impress the mind or move the feelings of: The music affected him deeply.
(of pain, disease, etc.) to attack or lay hold of.
Psychology. feeling or emotion.
Psychiatry. an expressed or observed emotional response: Restricted, flat, or blunted affect may be a symptom of mental illness, especially schizophrenia.
Obsolete. affection; passion; sensation; inclination; inward disposition or feeling.


How To Use "Affect" vs. "Effect"

Effect and affect: can you keep these two words straight? We can't either which is why we are giving you some examples to learn the difference between the two!

There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of affect

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin affectus “acted upon, subjected to; mental or emotional state” (past participle and action noun of afficere ), equivalent to af- “toward” + fec- (combining form of facere “to make, do”) + -tus action noun suffix or -tus past participle suffix; see af-

words often confused with affect

Affect1 and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect1 means “to act on” or “to move” ( His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept ); affect2 means “to pretend” or “to assume” ( new students affecting a nonchalance they didn't feel ). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes. The noun effect means “result, consequence”: the serious effects of the oil spill. The noun affect1 pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. Affect2 is not used as a noun.


af·fect·a·ble, adjectiveaf·fect·a·bil·i·ty, noun


affect , effect (see confusables note at the current entry)

Other definitions for affect (2 of 2)

[ uh-fekt ]
/ əˈfɛkt /

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Obsolete. to incline, tend, or favor (usually followed by to): He affects to the old ways.

Origin of affect

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Middle French affecter, from Latin affectāre “to strive after, feign” (frequentative of afficere “to do to”), equivalent to af-af- + fec- (see affect1) + -tāre frequentative suffix

synonym study for affect

1. See pretend.

words often confused with affect

See affect1.


af·fect·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What's the difference between affect and effect?

Affect is most commonly used as a verb meaning to act on or produce a change in someone or something. Effect is most commonly used as a noun meaning a result or consequence.

Remembering the difference between the words can be especially hard because these senses of the words have just about the same pronunciation. Complicating things further is the fact that affect can also be used as a noun (referring to a state of emotion, as in He had a sad affect) and effect can also be used as a verb (meaning to make happen, as in We can only effect change by taking action). However, these senses of the words are much less commonly used.

You can remember that affect is most commonly used as a verb because it begins with a, for action.

You can also remember how affect and effect are most commonly used by using the acronym RAVEN:

R = Remember
A = Affect is a
V = Verb
E = Effect is a
N = Noun

Here’s an example of affect and effect used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: It’s unclear what immediate effects the new law will have or how it will affect future generations.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between affect and effect.

Quiz yourself on affect vs. effect!

Should affect or effect be used in the following sentence?

The campaign is hoping that the ads have a big _____ on voter turnout.

How to use affect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for affect (1 of 2)


verb (əˈfɛkt) (tr)
to act upon or influence, esp in an adverse waydamp affected the sparking plugs
to move or disturb emotionally or mentallyher death affected him greatly
(of pain, disease, etc) to attack
noun (ˈæfɛkt, əˈfɛkt)
psychol the emotion associated with an idea or set of ideasSee also affection

Word Origin for affect

C17: from Latin affectus, past participle of afficere to act upon, from ad- to + facere to do

British Dictionary definitions for affect (2 of 2)

/ (əˈfɛkt) /

verb (mainly tr)
to put on an appearance or show of; make a pretence ofto affect ignorance
to imitate or assume, esp pretentiouslyto affect an accent
to have or use by preferenceshe always affects funereal clothing
to adopt the character, manner, etc, ofhe was always affecting the politician
(of plants or animals) to live or grow inpenguins affect an arctic climate
to incline naturally or habitually towardsfalling drops of liquid affect roundness

Word Origin for affect

C15: from Latin affectāre to strive after, pretend to have; related to afficere to affect 1
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