[ ih-feet ]
/ ɪˈfit /


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

1615–25; < Latin effēta exhausted from bearing, equivalent to ef- ef- + fēta having brought forth, feminine past participle of lost v.; see fetus

Related forms

Can be confused

effeminate effete feminine womanish womanly (see synonym study at womanly)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for effeteness

  • There was nothing to choose between them in the way of incompetence and effeteness.

  • In these things, he said, lay the greatness of America and the effeteness of England.

    American Notes|Rudyard Kipling
  • 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|Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • The effeteness of the Mother Country is about to be put to the proof.

British Dictionary definitions for effeteness


/ (ɪˈfiːt) /


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

Derived Forms

effetely, adverbeffeteness, noun

Word Origin for effete

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