See more synonyms for effort on Thesaurus.com
  1. exertion of physical or mental power: It will take great effort to achieve victory.
  2. an earnest or strenuous attempt: an effort to keep to the schedule.
  3. something done by exertion or hard work: I thought it would be easy, but it was an effort.
  4. an achievement, as in literature or art: The painting is one of his finest efforts.
  5. the amount of exertion expended for a specified purpose: the war effort.
  6. Chiefly British.
    1. an organized community drive or achievement.
    2. a fund-raising drive.
  7. Mechanics. the force or energy that is applied to a machine for the accomplishment of useful work.

Origin of effort

1480–90; < Middle French; Old French esfort, esforz, derivative of esforcier to force (es- ex-1 + forcier to force)
Related formscoun·ter·ef·fort, nouno·ver·ef·fort, nounpre·ef·fort, noun

Synonyms for effort

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. struggle, striving. Effort, application, endeavor, exertion imply actions directed or force expended toward a definite end. Effort is an expenditure of energy to accomplish some objective: He made an effort to control himself. Application is continuous effort plus careful attention: constant application to duties. Endeavor means a continued and sustained series of efforts to achieve some, often worthy and difficult, end: a constant endeavor to be useful. Exertion is the vigorous and often strenuous expenditure of energy, frequently without an end: out of breath from exertion.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for efforts

Contemporary Examples of efforts

Historical Examples of efforts

  • All efforts to ascertain your fate proved utterly fruitless.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • It required all the captain's seamanship, and the efforts of all the crew, to withstand it.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well—a fire in the minds of men.

  • The degree to which we work them out depends on our own efforts.

  • That fact had been of incalculable advantage to him in his efforts to reach the shore with her.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for efforts


  1. physical or mental exertion, usually considerable when unqualifiedthe rock was moved with effort
  2. a determined attemptour effort to save him failed
  3. achievement; creationa great literary effort
  4. physics an applied force acting against inertia
Derived Formseffortful, adjective

Word Origin for effort

C15: from Old French esfort, from esforcier to force, ultimately from Latin fortis strong; see force 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

Word Origin and History for efforts



late 15c., from Middle French effort, noun of action from Old French esforz "force, impetuosity, strength, power," back-formation from esforcier "force out, exert oneself," from Vulgar Latin *exfortiare "to show strength" (source of Italian sforza), from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).

Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. [Ortega y Gasset, 1949]

Related: Efforts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

efforts in Science


  1. Force applied against inertia.
  2. The force needed by a machine in order to accomplish work on a load. Compare load.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with efforts


see all out (effort); last-ditch effort.

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