Definition of effete in English:



  • 1Affected, over-refined, and ineffectual.

    ‘effete trendies from art college’
    • ‘His successor was hated as an effete playboy.’
    • ‘I think it's important to read because it makes clear that he's not some effete lefty urbanite like me: he's a sober heartland working-class American who knows whereof he speaks.’
    • ‘When they became more successful, they were worried that the young men would become effete.’
    • ‘German fox-hunters tended to be aristocratic, in his view effete and probably Anglophile.’
    • ‘Any good Alabama cop knows that writers are effete liberals who stay up all night doing drugs with their decadent friends.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, every American who believes in racial equality and human dignity should sympathize with the rioters, not with the effete bigots on the Seine.’
    • ‘More on Minnesota's Angry Humorist: The New York Post's Page Six column calls him an effete egghead, but that doesn't quite capture it.’
    • ‘Being far happier sending back despatches from the trenches of war-torn middle-eastern countries, she is none too impressed at the idea of being forced instead to hob-nob with effete Englishmen.’
    • ‘The security of my men and the stability of my prison was at stake, and now, I had to deal with this bleeding-heart, liberal, academic, effete dingdong who was concerned about the independent variable!’
    • ‘A thought: if your opponent has $100 million to portray you as an effete snob, don't go on vacation to a fancy ski resort in Idaho.’
    • ‘A general reading of school textbooks would convince one that the Mughal rulers were all weak, effete and full of vices.’
    • ‘But if losing the Heineken European Cup annoyed the Catalans, then losing the final of the French championships last June to a bunch of effete Parisians made them really sore.’
    • ‘Being perceived as an effete art student often made the dressing room a very uncomfortable place for me.’
    • ‘To carry the analogy a little further, the Japanese would be the English of Asia - reserved, effete, cultured to the point of snobbery, at least in the face they present to outsiders.’
    • ‘The effete middle class Oxonian dullards despise him as much for being a working class man with big ideas about himself, who insists on speaking in complete sentences and making sense, as for his politics.’
    • ‘They saw us with our floppy fringes and effete mannerisms and went mental.’
    • ‘In conditions of unbelievable misery, with rain, sleet and hailstones whistling about their ears, the effete foreigners somehow put the balaclava-covered Brits to the sword.’
    • ‘I do not think there has been one French leader who had a good word for the tea drinkers of this world: they are lumped together and seen as effete Englishmen, no doubt to the horror of the Irish; and other heavy tea drinkers.’
    affected, over-refined, ineffectual, artificial, studied, pretentious, precious, chichi, flowery, mannered
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    1. 1.1No longer capable of effective action.
      ‘the authority of an effete aristocracy began to dwindle’
      • ‘The effete aristocrats must rely on the butler's practical skills to survive, and the balance of power shifts from master to servant.’
      • ‘For Trotsky the f-word was a sign of slavery, the sigh of the oppressed, but for Steven Berkoff it is ‘a sign of passion’, a mark of working-class resistance to an effete and effeminate middle class.’
      • ‘Europe is weak and effete, a bunch of ingrates who have turned their backs on us after we bailed them out during WWII.’
      • ‘The British bourgeoisie is not subaltern to an effete but tenacious aristocracy.’
      • ‘The aged West has grown rather effete and prefers to avoid ideological confrontation.’
      • ‘Tomes have been written on how, in late 18 th-century France, an effete and ineffectual monarchy was replaced by the tyranny of the sans-culottes and the bloodlust of the Committee for Public Safety.’
      • ‘The aristocracy are slightly unreal and living in an effete world.’
      • ‘You know better than anyone that such obituaries issue from effete societies.’
      • ‘I'm old enough to have signed contracts that date back to the old law that Lessig wants us to return to - an Oz-like paradise when the U.S. went its own manly way in copyright and spurned the effete conventions of the rest of the world.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, National Minorities Commission is effete because the persons, who hold positions there, have personal interests above their constitutional obligations.’
      weakened, enfeebled, enervated, worn out, exhausted, finished, burnt out, played out, drained, spent, powerless
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    2. 1.2(of a man) weak or effeminate.
      ‘he chatted away, exercising his rather effete charm’
      • ‘However, in Davenant's masque, the effect is to make men effete, replicating the behaviour of the women they are trying to seduce.’
      • ‘As far as anyone can tell, his time in Madrid has made him effete and weak.’
      • ‘In other words, only an effete man with a distinct lack of self-esteem and character would enter into such an arrangement.’
      • ‘He is effete, a wimpy and spineless figure.’
      • ‘He fluctuates ambiguously between sexual identities: On the one hand, he is hyperbolically heterosexual, with a voracious appetite for women; on the other hand, he is effete and always primped.’
      • ‘Yet her effete husband paraded his catamites in front of her; Piers Gaveston even flaunted the Queen's wedding jewellery on his person.’
      • ‘In the long-awaited final episode, the foursome witnesses the mugging and robbery of an effete, obese man.’
      • ‘While he was large for a boy his age he was unable to mask his feminine voice nor his effete mannerisms and was discharged for lack of dignity.’
      • ‘His reputation lies in tatters and popular history paints him as an effete Italian weakling but Bonnie Prince Charlie may yet take his proper place in the roll call of Scotland's most macho freedom fighters.’
      • ‘He also had a certain masculine mystique about him, unlike the intellectual, artistic and sometimes effete men who were part of her set.’
      • ‘Most memorable of the main characters was Mr Humphries, senior sales assistant in the menswear department, a camp and effete man, sharp-tongued and as light as a fairy on his feet.’
      • ‘The public perception of me is that I am camp, effete, effeminate, gay… and I'm not.’
      • ‘It's 1981: the world has fallen under the spell of music performed by effete blokes in frilly shirts and trowled-on make-up.’
      • ‘Filmed mainly in the 1960s and 1970s they had a small cast of actors who reprised comedy stereotypes: the fat frumpy matron, the likely lad, the dolly bird, the effete homosexual etc.’
      effeminate, unmasculine, unmanly
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Early 17th century (in the sense ‘no longer fertile’): from Latin effetus worn out by bearing young, from ex- out + fetus breeding; related to fetus.