[ ih-fekt ]
See synonyms for: effecteffectedeffectingeffects on Thesaurus.com

  1. something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence: Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.

  2. power to produce results; efficacy; force; influence: His protest had no effect.

  1. the state of being operative or functional; operation or execution; accomplishment or fulfillment: to bring a plan into effect.

  2. a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or a speech.

  3. meaning or sense; purpose or intention: She disapproved of the proposal and wrote to that effect.

  4. the making of a desired impression: We had the feeling that the big, expensive car was only for effect.

  5. an illusory phenomenon: a three-dimensional effect.

  6. a real phenomenon (usually named for its discoverer): the Doppler effect.

  7. Usually effects . a special effect, practical effect, or visual effect in a movie, TV show, or other video. Abbreviation: FX

verb (used with object)
  1. to produce as an effect; bring about; make happen; accomplish: The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring.

Idioms about effect

  1. in effect,

    • for practical purposes; virtually: His silence was in effect a confirmation of the rumor.

    • essentially; basically.

    • operating or functioning; in force: The plan is now in effect.

  2. take effect,

    • to go into operation; begin to function.

    • to produce a result: The prescribed medicine failed to take effect.

Origin of effect

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin effectus “the carrying out (of a task, etc.),” hence, “accomplishment, outcome,” equivalent to effec- (variant stem of efficere “to make, carry out”; ef- combining form meaning “out, out from, beyond” + -ficere combining form of the verb facere “do, make”) + -tus suffix of verbal action; cf. ef-, do1

synonym study For effect

1. Effect, consequence(s), result refer to something produced by an action or a cause. An effect is that which is produced, usually more or less immediately and directly: The effect of morphine is to produce sleep. A consequence, something that follows naturally or logically, as in a train of events or sequence of time, is less intimately connected with its cause than is an effect: Punishment is the consequence of disobedience. A result may be near or remote, and often is the sum of effects or consequences as making an end or final outcome: The English language is the result of the fusion of many different elements.

confusables note For effect

See affect1.

Other words for effect

Other words from effect

  • ef·fect·i·ble, adjective
  • pre·ef·fect, noun, verb (used with object)
  • un·ef·fect·ed, adjective
  • un·ef·fect·i·ble, adjective
  • well-ef·fect·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with effect

Words Nearby effect

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use effect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for effect


/ (ɪˈfɛkt) /

  1. something that is produced by a cause or agent; result

  2. power or ability to influence or produce a result; efficacy: with no effect

  1. the condition of being operative (esp in the phrases in or into effect): the law comes into effect at midnight

  2. take effect to become operative or begin to produce results

  3. basic meaning or purpose (esp in the phrase to that effect)

  4. an impression, usually one that is artificial or contrived (esp in the phrase for effect)

  5. a scientific phenomenon: the Doppler effect

  6. in effect

    • in fact; actually

    • for all practical purposes

  7. the overall impression or result: the effect of a painting

  1. (tr) to cause to occur; bring about; accomplish

Origin of effect

C14: from Latin effectus a performing, tendency, from efficere to accomplish, from facere to do

Derived forms of effect

  • effecter, noun
  • effectible, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with effect


see in effect; into effect; take effect; to that effect.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.