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

  • adj. Having an intended or expected effect.
  • adj. Producing a strong impression or response; striking: gave an effective performance as Othello.
  • adj. Operative; in effect: The law is effective immediately.
  • adj. Existing in fact; actual: a decline in the effective demand.
  • adj. Prepared for use or action, especially in warfare.
  • n. A soldier or a piece of military equipment that is ready for combat: "The 'company' was no more than two platoons of effectives” ( Tom Clancy).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having the power to produce a required effect or effects.
  • adj. Producing a decided or decisive effect.
  • adj. Efficient, serviceable, or operative, available for useful work.
  • adj. Actually in effect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the power to produce an effect or effects; producing a decided or decisive effect; efficient; serviceable; operative
  • n. That which produces a given effect; a cause.
  • n. One who is capable of active service.
  • n. Specie or coin, as distinguished from paper currency; -- a term used in many parts of Europe.
  • n. The serviceable soldiers in a country; an army or any military body, collectively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to effect the intended purpose; producing the intended or expected effect or result; operative; efficacious: as, an effective cause; effective proceedings.
  • Capable of producing effect; fit for action or duty; adapted for a desired end: as, the effective force of an army or of a steam-engine is so much; effective capacity.
  • Serving to impress or affect with admiration; producing a decided impression of beauty or a feeling of admiration at the first presentation; impressive; striking; specifically, artistically strong or successful: as, an effective performance; an effective picture.
  • Actual; real.
  • n. The number of men actually doing duty, or the strength of a company, a regiment, or an army, in the field or on parade.
  • n. A soldier fit for duty.

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

  • adj. able to accomplish a purpose; functioning effectively
  • adj. existing in fact; not theoretical; real
  • adj. ready for service
  • adj. works well as a means or remedy
  • adj. producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect
  • adj. exerting force or influence


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • WORD: effective


    ' This rambling introduction is four times as long as the most efficient, effective piece of writing in the history of the English-speaking world, which was Abraham Lincoln's address on the battlefield at Gettysburg. '

    1999 KURT VONNEGUT. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian. "Introduction" (Page 16).

    September 9, 2013

  • See usage note at affect.

    June 28, 2011

  • "If, as some environmentalists demand, it is to happen worldwide, then much of the arable surface of the planet will be deployed to produce food for cars, not people. The market responds to money, not need. People who own cars - by definition - have more money than people at risk of starvation: their demand is effective, while the groans of people at risk of the starving are not. In a contest between cars and people, the cars would win. Something rather like this is happening already. Though 800 million people are permanently malnourished, the global increase in crop production is being used mostly to feed animals: the number of livestock on earth has quintupled since 1950. The reason is that those who buy meat and dairy products have more purchasing power than those who buy only subsistence crops."

    - 'Heat', George Monbiot.

    February 19, 2008