- lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society.
- exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force.
- unable to produce; sterile.
Origin of effete
SynonymsSee more synonyms for effete on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for effeteness
In these things, he said, lay the greatness of America and the effeteness of England.American Notes
The effeteness of the Mother Country is about to be put to the proof.
There was nothing to choose between them in the way of incompetence and effeteness.A History of England
The Church had created art, had cherished it for centuries; and now by the effeteness of her sons she was cast into a corner.The Cathedral
- weak, ineffectual, or decadent as a result of overrefinementan effete academic
- exhausted of vitality or strength; worn out; spent
- (of animals or plants) no longer capable of reproduction
Word Origin and History for effeteness
1620s, from Latin effetus (usually in fem. effeta) "exhausted, unproductive, worn out (with bearing offspring), past bearing," literally "that has given birth," from a lost verb, *efferi, from ex- "out" (see ex-) + fetus "childbearing, offspring" (see fetus). Figurative use is earliest in English; literal use is rare. Sense of "exhausted" is 1660s; that of "intellectually or morally exhausted" (1790) led to "decadent" (19c.).