from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To have an influence on or effect a change in: Inflation affects the buying power of the dollar.
  • transitive v. To act on the emotions of; touch or move.
  • transitive v. To attack or infect, as a disease: Rheumatic fever can affect the heart.
  • n. Feeling or emotion, especially as manifested by facial expression or body language: "The soldiers seen on television had been carefully chosen for blandness of affect” ( Norman Mailer).
  • n. Obsolete A disposition, feeling, or tendency.
  • transitive v. To put on a false show of; simulate: affected a British accent.
  • transitive v. To have or show a liking for: affects dramatic clothes.
  • transitive v. Archaic To fancy; love.
  • transitive v. To tend to by nature; tend to assume: a substance that affects crystalline form.
  • transitive v. To imitate; copy: "Spenser, in affecting the ancients, writ no language” ( Ben Jonson).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To influence or alter.
  • v. To move to emotion.
  • v. Of an illness or condition, to infect or harm (a part of the body).
  • v. To aim for, to try to obtain.
  • v. To feel affection for; to like, be fond of.
  • v. To make a false display of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Affection; inclination; passion; feeling; disposition.
  • n. The emotional complex associated with an idea or mental state. In hysteria, the affect is sometimes entirely dissociated, sometimes transferred to another than the original idea.
  • transitive v. To act upon; to produce an effect or change upon.
  • transitive v. To influence or move, as the feelings or passions; to touch.
  • transitive v. To love; to regard with affection.
  • transitive v. To show a fondness for; to like to use or practice; to choose; hence, to frequent habitually.
  • transitive v. To dispose or incline.
  • transitive v. To aim at; to aspire; to covet.
  • transitive v. To tend to by affinity or disposition.
  • transitive v. To make a show of; to put on a pretense of; to feign; to assume.
  • transitive v. To assign; to appoint.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To aim at; aspire to; endeavor after.
  • To use or adopt by preference; choose; prefer; tend toward habitually or naturally.
  • To be pleased with; take pleasure in; fancy; like; love.
  • To make a show of; put on a pretense of; assume the appearance of; pretend; feign: as, to affect ignorance.
  • To use as a model; imitate in any way.
  • To resemble; smack of.
  • To incline; be disposed.
  • To make a show; put on airs; manifest affectation.
  • To act upon; produce an effect or a change upon; influence; move or touch: as, cold affects the body; loss affects our interests.
  • To urge; incite.
  • To render liable to a charge of; show to be chargeable with.
  • To assign; allot; apply: now only in the passive.
  • Synonyms To work upon; to concern, relate to, interest, bear upon; to melt, soften, subdue, change. Affect and effect are sometimes confused. To affect is to influence, concern; to effect is to accomplish or bring about.
  • n. Affection; passion; sensation; inclination; inward disposition or feeling.
  • n. State or condition of body; the way in which a thing is affected or disposed.
  • n. In psychology: The felt or affective component of a motive to action; the incentive, as opposed to the inducement, to act. See the extract.
  • n. Emotion.
  • n. In Spinoza's philosophy, a modification at once of the psychic and the physical condition, the former element being called an idea and the latter an affection.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. connect closely and often incriminatingly
  • v. have an effect upon
  • v. have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  • n. the conscious subjective aspect of feeling or emotion
  • v. make believe with the intent to deceive
  • v. act physically on; have an effect upon


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English affecten, from Latin afficere, affect-, to do to, act on : ad-, ad- + facere, to do.
Middle English affecten, from Latin affectāre, to strive after, frequentative of afficere, affect-, to affect, influence; see affect1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French affecter, French affecter, and its source, the participle stem of Latin afficere ("to act upon, influence, affect, attack with disease"), from ad- + facere ("to make, do").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman affecter ("strive after"), Middle French affecter ("feign"), and their source, Latin affectāre ("to strive after, aim to do, pursue, imitate with dissimulation, feign"), frequentative of afficere ("to act upon, influence") (see Etymology 1, above).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English affect, from Latin affectus, adfectus ("a state of mind or body produced by some (external) influence, especially sympathy or love"), from afficere ("to act upon, influence")



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  • Affect v. "To have an influence on or effect a change in"

    Wait a minute... the definition of affect is essentially "to effect"? Why can't the two (affect/effect) be used interchangeably as a verb, then? I'm confused!

    January 24, 2012

  • 'affected the population with lies' is rather obtuse.

    August 17, 2011

  • I affect an effect. The socialist affected the population with lies about how they want to help the downtrodden and the effect was that they rode into power on the backs of those downtrodden.

    August 17, 2011

  • When “affect” is accented on the final syllable (a-FECT), it is usually a verb meaning “have an influence on” . . . . Occasionally . . . “affect” means “to make a display of or deliberately cultivate.” . . . When the word is accented on the first syllable (AFF-ect), it means “emotion.” . . .

    The real problem arises when people confuse the first spelling with the second: “effect.” This too can be two different words. The more common one is a noun. . . . When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it.

    Less common is a verb meaning “to create”: “I’m trying to effect a change in the way we purchase widgets.” . . . Note especially that the proper expression is not “take affect” but “take effect”—become effective. . . .

    The stuff in your purse? Your personal effects.

    The stuff in movies? Sound effects and special effects.

    Affective” is a technical term having to do with emotions; the vast majority of the time the spelling you want is “effective.”

    Paul Brians. “Affect/Effect”. Common Errors in English Usage

    June 28, 2011

  • AffeCT

    April 24, 2008

  • Gee, this reminds me of a certain Amazon review I wrote recently:

    Godin review

    What was creepy was that I received an e-mail from Seth Godin, expressing regret that I disliked the book so much, with the explanation that it wasn't intended to give advice, but just stimulate discussion. He offered to refund the purchase price. I declined.

    February 16, 2008

  • The Placebo Affect*

    February 15, 2008