Definition of effete in US English:



  • 1(of a person) affected, overrefined, and ineffectual.

    ‘effete trendies from art college’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They saw us with our floppy fringes and effete mannerisms and went mental.’
    • ‘When they became more successful, they were worried that the young men would become effete.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Any good Alabama cop knows that writers are effete liberals who stay up all night doing drugs with their decadent friends.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, every American who believes in racial equality and human dignity should sympathize with the rioters, not with the effete bigots on the Seine.’
    • ‘His successor was hated as an effete playboy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘German fox-hunters tended to be aristocratic, in his view effete and probably Anglophile.’
    • ‘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 general reading of school textbooks would convince one that the Mughal rulers were all weak, effete and full of vices.’
    • ‘Being perceived as an effete art student often made the dressing room a very uncomfortable place for me.’
    • ‘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.’
    affected, over-refined, ineffectual, artificial, studied, pretentious, precious, chichi, flowery, mannered
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    1. 1.1 No longer capable of effective action.
      ‘the authority of an effete aristocracy began to dwindle’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The British bourgeoisie is not subaltern to an effete but tenacious aristocracy.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, National Minorities Commission is effete because the persons, who hold positions there, have personal interests above their constitutional obligations.’
      • ‘Europe is weak and effete, a bunch of ingrates who have turned their backs on us after we bailed them out during WWII.’
      • ‘You know better than anyone that such obituaries issue from effete societies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The effete aristocrats must rely on the butler's practical skills to survive, and the balance of power shifts from master to servant.’
      • ‘The aged West has grown rather effete and prefers to avoid ideological confrontation.’
      weakened, enfeebled, enervated, worn out, exhausted, finished, burnt out, played out, drained, spent, powerless
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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.