[ ih-feet ]
See synonyms for effete on Thesaurus.com
  1. lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society.

  2. exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force.

  1. unable to produce; sterile.

Origin of effete

First recorded in 1615–25; from Latin effēta “exhausted from bearing,” equivalent to ef- “from, out of” (see ef-) + fēta “having brought forth,” feminine past participle of lost verb; see fetus

Other words for effete

Other words from effete

  • ef·fete·ly, adverb
  • ef·fete·ness, noun
  • non·ef·fete, adjective
  • non·ef·fete·ly, adverb
  • non·ef·fete·ness, noun
  • un·ef·fete, adjective
  • un·ef·fete·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with effete

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

British Dictionary definitions for effete


/ (ɪˈfiːt) /

  1. weak, ineffectual, or decadent as a result of overrefinement: an effete academic

  2. exhausted of vitality or strength; worn out; spent

  1. (of animals or plants) no longer capable of reproduction

Origin of effete

C17: from Latin effētus having produced young, hence, exhausted by bearing, from fētus having brought forth; see fetus

Derived forms of effete

  • effetely, adverb
  • effeteness, noun

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