Definition of effect in English:



  • 1A change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

    ‘the lethal effects of hard drugs’
    ‘politicians really do have some effect on the lives of ordinary people’
    • ‘This had a negative effect, resulting in ridiculous relationship standards.’
    • ‘It was clear from the start that the strong windy conditions were going to have an immediate effect on the result of the game.’
    • ‘An unfortunate consequence of the terrorist attacks has been a chilling effect on political debate.’
    • ‘It can be seen that the approximation does not have a large effect on the results.’
    • ‘There are most likely two factors - apart from voter apathy - which have a significant effect on the poll results.’
    • ‘This could represent an important source of bias and in a worst case scenario could have a large effect on the results.’
    • ‘Why this should result in a specific effect on anxiety remains an enigma.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the dry seasons 1996-1998 do not seem to have resulted in such an effect.’
    • ‘But the way they build their panels and cull their figures has a huge effect on the results.’
    • ‘The aim is to ensure that young people are fully aware of the damaging health effects and legal consequences of drug use.’
    • ‘The consequences then have an effect on the community as a whole.’
    • ‘There has been an immediate effect as a result of the engine rule, with all the teams doing less laps.’
    • ‘The result has a direct effect on the finished product, which is read by the public.’
    • ‘There is no evidence of anything in the whole of the universe that is not the result of being the effect of some cause.’
    • ‘Interestingly, giving the subjects something that blocks the effects of the original drug resulted in the effects of the placebo being lost.’
    • ‘A large effect on compliance resulted from a relatively small intervention effort.’
    • ‘Consequently, the effect of hedge funds selling the Australian dollar went largely unnoticed.’
    • ‘We could see low-lying islands in the Pacific totally disappear as a result of the effect of greenhouse gases.’
    • ‘Labour and Conservatives seem to have forgotten that the student population is large enough to have an effect on the election results.’
    • ‘Central to that argument was that cannabis had a different effect from hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin.’
    affect, influence, exert influence on, act on, work on, condition, touch, have an impact on, impact on, take hold of, attack, infect, strike, strike at, hit
    result, consequence, upshot, outcome, out-turn, sequel, reaction, repercussions, reverberations, ramifications
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The state of being or becoming operative.
      • ‘However, those boundary changes will apparently not take effect until after the next federal election.’
      • ‘The long journey and the early start were beginning to take effect.’
      • ‘The revisions take effect from this week, says a bank press release.’
      • ‘Technically, as all 25 member states must ratify the treaty for it to take effect, it is dead.’
      • ‘Controversial proposals to switch the school year from three terms to six are now virtually certain to take effect across Hampshire.’
      • ‘The parameters of the agreement are due to be specified by mid-April so that the agreement can take effect in late April.’
      • ‘The first of the lay-offs will take effect from June this year with the remainder of the redundancies in October.’
      • ‘The closure will take effect in February, pending consultation.’
      • ‘The new rental policy will not come into effect until the outcome of a court appeal which is expected tomorrow.’
      • ‘The new harvesting days will take effect in the next three weeks, on Mondays and Tuesdays.’
      • ‘But he was quick to add that the new fares would not take effect in the near future.’
      • ‘The problem is that a revoked visa does not take effect until after the person leaves the United States.’
      • ‘The move towards more transparency was expected to take effect by the end of this year or early next year.’
      • ‘Programmes designed to help them get back to normal life after their release do not have enough time to take effect, he said.’
      • ‘These are solutions that may take years, even decades to take effect.’
      • ‘The offer is open to all direct employers in the region with effect from Monday.’
      • ‘The order also raises questions about whether the rules will ever be allowed to take effect.’
      • ‘Any increase in pay would not go into effect until the following House election.’
      • ‘Becket was armed with letters from the Pope which would take effect upon delivery.’
      • ‘With the rule changes on hold, we now have the opportunity to void them for good - before they ever take effect.’
      come into force, come into operation, come into being, begin, become operative, become valid, become law, apply, be applied
      work, act, be effective, produce results, have the desired effect, be efficacious
      implement, apply, put into action, put into practice, execute, enact, carry out, carry through, perform, administer
      force, operation, enforcement, implementation, execution, action, effectiveness
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2The extent to which something succeeds or is operative.
      ‘wind power can be used to great effect’
      • ‘Within it, works are placed where they will receive maximum exposure whilst also enhancing their surroundings to the greatest effect.’
      • ‘Its parapets, grand staircases and sheltered side gardens are used to great effect.’
      • ‘Like most women she tried a few diets with little effect; discouraged she decided to cast a spell to help her drop a few pounds.’
      • ‘The German Luftwaffe exercised their doctrine of joint operations in support of ground forces to great effect.’
      • ‘Most of us have said something of the sort on more than one occasion with little effect.’
      • ‘The scared women tried to fire emergency flares at the bear, with little effect.’
      • ‘The soundtrack is used to great effect in most scenes, dubious effect in some.’
      • ‘He is trotted out to play a hulking but child-like soldier to no great effect.’
      • ‘The central bank has previously attempted to tried to keep pace with inflation by issuing banknotes, with little effect.’
      • ‘Lessons from history teach us that during wars all civil laws are made of no effect.’
      • ‘The marches that take place occasionally against crime are meaningless and of no effect.’
      • ‘In the development process, technology can be tossed around with abandon, with little effect on the audience.’
      • ‘The director has used music and songs to great effect here.’
      • ‘The cinematography is astonishing, almost monochrome, capturing the darkness at the heart of the story, using close ups to great effect.’
      • ‘There is also a fair amount of clever wordplay, delivered rapid-fire to great effect.’
    3. 1.3Physics [with modifier]A physical phenomenon, typically named after its discoverer.
      ‘the Doppler effect’
      • ‘Heinrich Hertz discovered the photoelectric effect, so called because it was caused by light rays, in 1887.’
      • ‘The vibration, though it is not completely circular, provides the rotating reference frame which gives rise to the Coriolis effect.’
      • ‘Atomic beams can act like light waves and exhibit all of the classic wave effects, like interference and refraction.’
      • ‘By analogy, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by a moving object also exhibits the Doppler effect.’
      • ‘The energies are just right inside stars, thanks to an unusual quantum effect known as a resonance.’
    4. 1.4An impression produced in the mind of a person.
      ‘gentle music can have a soothing effect’
      • ‘All very understandable, but the effect on the impressionable minds of our intellectual class has been deleterious.’
      • ‘Clever lighting prevents it from being too dark, though, and the overall effect is impressive.’
      • ‘Plastic objects fail to give a soothing effect on the mind, according to him.’
      • ‘He pointed out that material of that sort could have an effect on impressionable minds.’
      • ‘Not an extremely elaborate costume perhaps, but the time, thought and effort was clear to see and the overall effect impressed me no end.’
      • ‘When he did you wondered why he was so reticent, for the effect was impressive enough.’
      • ‘If all that sounds worryingly alcoholic, fear not: the whole effect was wonderfully impressive.’
      • ‘But he fears the campaign could have a damaging effect on impressionable teenagers.’
      • ‘However, the splashing water also created a nostalgic effect on the minds of onlookers.’
      • ‘But this music has always been a part of my life, and its effect is always soothing and uplifting.’
      • ‘As colors get closer to each other on the wheel, the more soothing their effect when combined.’
      • ‘Big, beautiful showy flowers have a tranquil effect that soothes you at the end of a long day.’
      • ‘The sound of the water flowing through the rocks has a soothing effect on the mind.’
      • ‘The warning of the old-earth proponents was powerful in its effect on the minds of the public.’
      • ‘We ourselves barely understand a word of it, but the effect is pretty impressive.’
      • ‘The effect is impressive, even if the images are familiar to anyone who has logged on to the band's website or seen one of their videos.’
      • ‘In Britain, the experience of the revolution had a liberating effect on people's minds.’
      • ‘Even researchers are of the same view and psychologists do stress that it has a soothing effect on a disturbed mind.’
      • ‘Another marine did his best to sneer and look down his nose, though the effect was hardly impressing.’
      • ‘It's interesting that how I've laid out the blog site has such an effect on my mind.’
      impact, action, effectiveness, efficacy, efficaciousness, influence
      View synonyms
  • 2The lighting, sound, or scenery used in a play, movie, or broadcast.

    ‘the production relied too much on spectacular effects’
    • ‘The performances are a mixed bag, which is usually the case when a film concentrates on effects so much.’
    • ‘There are some great moments in this film featuring multiple directional effects and surround sounds.’
    • ‘There is effective use of puppets and perspective with the library stairs, and some clever lighting effects and physical comedy.’
    • ‘She then added different coloured lighting effects to create what would have been a remarkable theatrical display.’
    • ‘There is a sequence with a real live tiger, but that's about the extent of the film's visual effects.’
    • ‘Each film has some impressive effects, but in my view The Colossus attains far richer and more consistent value.’
    • ‘Romeo Must Die makes use of similarly impressive visual effects, especially in the hi-octane fight scenes.’
    • ‘The effects of these films leave us in states of astonishment.’
    • ‘I was dreading a rehash of the '80s media onslaught detailing the effects behind the film.’
    • ‘Donnie Darko proves that it's possible to do science fiction with visual effects in the independent film arena.’
    • ‘Those technicians would endeavour to provide the particular sound or lighting effects instructed by the promoter.’
    • ‘There are a multitude of sounds, directional effects, and explosions to thrill any action fan.’
    • ‘The other films used very specialised effects and sound - things that were not possible with our equipment.’
    • ‘The film and effects where good, I enjoyed it but really felt I deserved a little more than was given.’
    • ‘Sound effects and the musical score exhibit excellent fidelity, but the dialogue is harsh with too much noise.’
    • ‘The effects were impressive, adding a more realistic touch to the movie.’
    • ‘Several reviews have not been kind to the film's effects, particularly the creatures summoned by the game.’
    • ‘What an awful show with bad acting, lousy scripts, ridiculous effects, and poor lighting.’
    • ‘We have lots of gory effects in this film, a lot more than Resident Evil had.’
    • ‘Sound effects can provide a sense of realism for your project.’
  • 3Personal belongings.

    ‘the insurance covers personal effects’
    • ‘I've just noticed that after two months I still have no personal effects decorating my desk or office walls apart from a few work type things.’
    • ‘Then, after that, we had to bring all of her clothes and personal effects out of storage.’
    • ‘When I left the final load of my personal effects in my car overnight, you found a brilliant way to drive that point home.’
    • ‘Few personal effects are visible - it looks as if he has just moved in.’
    • ‘Your house contents and personal effects, are you sure they won't be stolen?’
    • ‘Two removalists trucks packed up the Butler's personal effects on Saturday to be put into storage.’
    • ‘The villa has since been converted into a museum with a gallery of photographs and replicas of Gandhi's personal effects.’
    • ‘She is escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer is waiting with her personal effects.’
    • ‘Never leave valuables in view most insurance companies will not cover replacement costs for the loss of personal effects.’
    • ‘Ten days later, the young man again smashed a car window, this time fleeing the scene with a small number of personal effects.’
    • ‘I walked in, announced I was quitting and was given enough time to type up my resignation, take my personal effects from my drawers, and was gone.’
    • ‘There, he discovers boxes of personal effects, including the pulp literature of his youth.’
    • ‘After 1942, my grandfather's letters and personal effects were collected by his older sister.’
    • ‘I simply became aware of it as I was burning various personal effects to avoid anyone finding them after I'd gone.’
    • ‘Packing up his personal effects and bringing them home was the most upsetting thing I've ever had to do.’
    • ‘She had been the victim of a previous break-in in July during which some personal effects were stolen.’
    • ‘Interestingly in his will he had no personal effects to leave to anyone and he had no surviving family.’
    • ‘The personnel effects of officers often comprised a significant portion of the baggage train's total.’
    • ‘Some personal effects, including a full packet of cigarettes and a cigarette lighter were found close to one of the uprooted trees.’
    • ‘Do not stop to collect your personal effects, there is no time to waste for this is surely a matter of life and death.’
    belongings, possessions, personal possessions, personal effects, goods, worldly goods, chattels, goods and chattels, accoutrements, appurtenances
    View synonyms


  • Cause (something) to happen; bring about.

    ‘nature always effected a cure’
    ‘budget cuts that were quietly effected over four years’
    • ‘So the parliament is stacked against any possibility of really effecting the kind of security, peace and economic policies that I believe in.’
    • ‘The protracted rebel war in the north of Uganda has effected many changes.’
    • ‘Finding a good mechanic to repair vintage cars without effecting any alterations in their original look and design is a major headache.’
    • ‘Impressively, Nelson's interlinking pieces fill the whole gallery, effecting a transformation that fully exploits the possibilities of the space.’
    • ‘Both buyer and seller pay the auction house a considerable commission for effecting the transaction.’
    • ‘The acceptances were effected by the execution of the acceptance forms.’
    • ‘This is the first time she will have effected a change in her style and title without the need to marry a man.’
    • ‘Just before this score Lawler had brilliantly effected a double penalty save to keep his side in the contest.’
    • ‘Banks (or at least their subsidiaries) are often members of these exchanges rather than simply effecting transactions through broker members.’
    • ‘In many ways, it's simply been an escalation of the firepower on both sides without necessarily effecting a major change in the outcome.’
    • ‘In effecting these controls, the Parish is making the point that the Church car park is private property and an asset belonging to the Church.’
    • ‘He was grateful to the Government for the role it played in boosting the sales by effecting a ban on imported cement from Zimbabwe which had triggered an increase in the output of the commodity.’
    • ‘It is only by means of a conceptual violence that their separation is effected.’
    • ‘The more ordinary the means employed in effecting this contextual shift, the less we are likely to be able to say at just which point the change took place.’
    • ‘He did not warn that those promoting recall are bent on effecting a massive transfer of wealth from the working majority to those in the top income bracket.’
    • ‘He even stated that he need not name every disease or body part, that God's power was effecting a multitude of cures all over the arena.’
    • ‘Recently in the media, however, one aspect of the system has been highlighted for effecting drastic change: the courts.’
    • ‘What we still do not know today, in many respects, is how that return was effected.’
    • ‘The government has come out and assured the settlers that the soldiers who will be effecting the evacuation will do so without arms.’
    • ‘Stable Boys maintained better domination of the game and effected a tactical ball control game.’
    achieve, accomplish, carry out, succeed in, realize, attain, manage, bring off, carry off, carry through, execute, conduct, fix, engineer, perform, do, perpetrate, discharge, fulfil, complete, finish, consummate, conclude
    cause, bring about, cause to happen, cause to occur, initiate, put in place, create, produce, make, give rise to
    provoke, call forth, occasion, bring to pass
    generate, originate, engender, precipitate, actuate, wreak, kindle
    View synonyms


For the differences in use between effect and affect, see affect


  • come into effect

    • Become operative; start to apply.

      ‘similar legislation came into effect in Wales on the same date’
      ‘the Kyoto Protocol officially came into effect last week’
      • ‘In a press release here, the bank said the new rates would come into effect from May 12.’
      • ‘Thirty two years ago, Majority Rule came into effect.’
      • ‘The ban on fox hunting with dogs finally comes into effect.’
      • ‘The new rule by the order of Franciscan monks in Croatia comes into effect from this weekend.’
      • ‘At the start of next year, the third phase of tax reform is due to come into effect.’
      • ‘A joint medicines regulatory agency is scheduled to come into effect by 1 July 2006.’
      • ‘A new policy, called "offensive deterrence," has come into effect.’
      • ‘Last September, a ban on smoking in the gaming rooms came into effect.’
      • ‘The Citizens Information Service new Freephone number comes into effect on 4th November.’
      • ‘The mayor has received permission for a temporary closing of the fair, which came into effect on April 25.’
  • for effect

    • In order to impress people.

      ‘I suspect he's controversial for effect’
      • ‘Nothing was done for effect, he was incredibly generous, talented and showed great empathy.’
      • ‘There is neither any chopped parsley on the plate's rim nor a twig of rosemary speared into the food for effect.’
      • ‘He indicates a space in front of his nose, then pauses for effect.’
      • ‘It seems he has exaggerated the press reports greatly for effect.’
      • ‘He paused for effect and stabbed a finger at the first firm on the list, which happened to be Toyota.’
      • ‘But most of what they do is minimal in terms of harm while maximising a particular impression for effect.’
      • ‘This is a sobering drama, never blatantly reaching for effect, but quietly moving nonetheless.’
      • ‘I promise total truth on my blog, no stories are exaggerated for effect and it is all from the heart.’
      • ‘So many writers in this country are just working for effect and impressions as opposed to good, solid narrative.’
      • ‘If anything, he should be brought in wearing prison garb, perhaps in shackles, just for effect.’
  • in effect

    • 1In operation; in force.

      ‘a moratorium in effect since 1985 has been lifted’
      • ‘The fact is, a very real program is in effect, and its goal is control of the human race!’
      • ‘Stephenson, on the other hand, thought that a contract must be in effect during the transfer.’
      • ‘I find that she was fully aware that the contract was in effect and binding on her.’
      • ‘My computer is informing me that legal locks are in effect and I can't fire my gun.’
      be in force, be in operation, act, stand, apply, be applied, run, be valid, remain valid, be current, function, be efficacious, hold good, be the case, be the order of the day, obtain, hold, be prevalent, prevail, pertain, be established
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Used to convey that something is the case in practice even if it is not formally acknowledged to be so.
        ‘additional payments that are in effect an entrance tax’
        • ‘As to the way in which he conducted his practice he said initially, in effect, that he took no attendance notes.’
        • ‘There is no doubt that this judge, in effect, started pretty close to the top and worked his way down.’
        • ‘An inflexible rule protecting such uses would in effect allow the creation of servitudes.’
        • ‘To adopt the petitioner's approach allows me to in effect reassess the costs of the motion.’
        • ‘There was no argument about that, that it was not a payment, in effect, by the company.’
        • ‘The new system of Payment by Results instituted what was in effect merit pay for teachers.’
        • ‘In fact, we are about to spend several hundred pages in effect defining advertising.’
        • ‘In effect, it is operating as a commercial company but with the cushion against failure provided by the licence fee.’
        • ‘In effect, this would result in pensions being actuarially reduced for early payment.’
        • ‘It has allowed British Cycling to establish what is, in effect, a professional team.’
        really, in reality, in truth, in fact, in actual fact, effectively, essentially, in essence, virtually, practically, in practical terms, for all practical purposes, to all intents and purposes, in all but name, all but, as good as, more or less, as near as dammit, almost, nearly, well nigh, nigh on, just about
        pretty much, pretty nearly, pretty well
        View synonyms
  • put (or bring or carry) something into effect

    • Cause something to apply or become operative.

      ‘they succeeded in putting their strategies into effect’
      • ‘Legislatures from Hawaii to Massachusetts to North Carolina are taking serious steps toward putting Election Day registration into effect.’
      • ‘A further 29 full-time sports activity coordinators have been recruited to put the plans into effect across the city.’
      • ‘The Government is pressing for an answer on legislation to put the deal into effect.’
      • ‘Last, the combatant acts, or puts the decision into effect.’
      • ‘Fortunately we don't get the opportunity to put them into effect.’
      • ‘Sentence of death by fire was given on October 26th, to be carried into effect on the following day.’
      • ‘Business chiefs also thought the Hong Kong government was inefficient in putting policies into effect.’
      • ‘The convention will oblige signatories, including Ireland, to enact new legislation to bring the provisions into effect.’
      • ‘Your Executors are responsible for making sure your Will is put into effect.’
      implement, apply, put into action, put into practice, execute, enact, carry out, carry through, perform, administer
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  • take effect

    • Become operative; start to apply.

      ‘the ban is to take effect in six months’
      • ‘The plan calls for most of the changes to take effect May 1.’
      • ‘A national referendum would determine whether the constitution would take effect.’
      • ‘You will need to reboot to have the change take effect.’
      • ‘The new measure is set to take effect this month.’
      • ‘Clearly, our efforts to clean up government are taking effect.’
      • ‘The order for forced time off takes effect next Friday.’
      • ‘New Hampshire's law legalizing gay marriage took effect Friday.’
      • ‘A state law creating the program took effect Tuesday.’
      • ‘The law, enacted in response to a state payoff scandal, was set to take effect at the start of the year.’
      • ‘The changes, aimed at further tax reductions for German companies, are now to take effect in 2004.’
      come into force, come into operation, come into being, begin, become operative, become valid, become law, apply, be applied
      View synonyms
  • to the effect that

    • Used to refer to the general sense of something written or spoken.

      ‘some comments to the effect that my essay was a little light on analysis’
      • ‘My problem concerns my daughter, who at the end of last year wrote me a short note to the effect that she wanted no further contact with me.’
      • ‘There's a Japanese saying to the effect that if you do a favor for someone you must humbly apologize, because you have caused them to lose face.’
      • ‘I've left a comment to the effect that I can't see how they'd be much use in moving people around a city.’
      • ‘This prompted a comment to the effect that the change in cash flow had caused a large distortion.’
      • ‘The passages that we cite in paragraph 14 are to the effect that there were findings about young men.’
      • ‘Somwhere on this chain a comment was made to the effect that we were becoming a service oriented economy.’
      • ‘There's an old saying in rural Ireland to the effect that if you get the name of getting up early then you can stay in bed all day.’
      • ‘She was babbling something to the effect that, if she could just get his autograph, her life would be complete.’
      • ‘He made some announcement to the effect that there had been some fighting.’
      • ‘In both cases the comments were to the effect that the demand must be made as soon as the officers formed the suspicion.’
  • to that effect

    • Having that result, purpose, or meaning.

      ‘she thought it a foolish rule and put a notice to that effect in a newspaper’
      • ‘We have received notice to that effect and I am just looking at the transcript of the last occasion.’
      • ‘While I believe it would be inadvisable to change the law I would welcome arguments to that effect.’
      • ‘I wrote a letter to that effect, and was pleasantly surprised to see it printed a week or so later.’
      • ‘It's amusing due to that fact I was rather enjoying some of his entries up until that point, and left comments to that effect.’
      • ‘If he elects to become the holder he shall give notice to the company to that effect.’
      • ‘Also shops and other organisations offering a discount should be displaying a notice to that effect.’
      • ‘You say he made a statement that they were going to get together or words to that effect?’
      • ‘It is likely that she will eventually have to make an explicit but carefully crafted statement to that effect.’
      • ‘We got that report within hours of that happening and I think some public comments were made to that effect.’
      • ‘I know you have heard evidence from other witnesses to that effect.’
      sense, meaning, theme, drift, thread, import, purport, intent, intention, burden, thrust, tenor, significance, message
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Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin effectus, from efficere accomplish from ex- out, thoroughly + facere do, make effect, personal belongings arose from the obsolete sense something acquired on completion of an action.