Definition of efficient in English:



  • 1(especially of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

    ‘fluorescent lamps are efficient at converting electricity into light’
    • ‘He said the new system allowed a more efficient ordering service at the front desk.’
    • ‘The party ran an efficient system that was designed to control the people.’
    • ‘The more information the system has, the more efficient and effective it will be.’
    • ‘In some ways it is a sleek and efficient machine; in others, it is full of flaws.’
    • ‘They are now forced to be more efficient and produce better products for consumers.’
    • ‘This way we got to experience the amazingly cheap and efficient Italian railway system.’
    • ‘"It's very efficient in terms of the time it takes to perform, " said Dr. Stevens.’
    • ‘The new duty of the police authority is to achieve efficient and effective policing of its area.’
    • ‘Their gearing becomes more efficient, materials get lighter and stronger and ergonomics improve.’
    • ‘If we use only five to eight firms, we will be able to offer a streamlined and more efficient service.’
    • ‘Corruption makes markets less efficient, more costly, and less innovative.’
    • ‘The system is efficient and well integrated with overground train, bus and tram routes.’
    • ‘I find that the present system works well and offers an efficient service at a relatively low cost.’
    • ‘One of those institutions is a legal system that is effective, efficient and independent.’
    • ‘Contracts would be awarded to those who offer efficient services at the best price.’
    • ‘With age, your kidneys become less efficient in removing waste from your bloodstream.’
    • ‘It certainly seemed a very efficient system and one which everyone participates in.’
    • ‘The rapid transit system is clean and efficient and the four legs of the line cover most of the city.’
    • ‘It is highly probable that changing working patterns would produce a more efficient fire service.’
    • ‘We are now able to provide the public with an information system that is more efficient and easier to navigate.’
    well organized, methodical, systematic, structured, well planned, logical, coherent, well regulated, well run, well ordered, orderly, businesslike, systematized, streamlined, productive, effective, labour-saving, cost-effective, energy-efficient, energy-saving, fuel-efficient
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    1. 1.1(of a person) working in a well-organized and competent way.
      ‘an efficient administrator’
      • ‘I am most impressed with the efficient and professional manner in which my crew responded.’
      • ‘This means the cluster can be slowed as a result of the least efficient worker.’
      • ‘Learn to become more organized with day-to-day activities and a more efficient worker.’
      • ‘I work with a team of women who are really well organised, effective and efficient teachers.’
      • ‘I can guarantee that there will be no problems, the crew is very competent and efficient.’
      • ‘I also know that these sort of things would be a lot easier if people would just be efficient.’
      • ‘Chris was known widely as an astute and efficient farmer and a devoted family man.’
      • ‘He has also been remembered as an efficient man who was devoted to his farm and his family.’
      • ‘They were efficient, and that was the real reason why the others disliked them.’
      • ‘As a briskly efficient technician attached the rope I had a most odd sense of dislocation.’
      • ‘She is efficient enough, but never really inspirational.’
      • ‘He proved to be an efficient administrator and a person who was able to bring out the best in this staff.’
      • ‘His efficient girlfriend is annoyed when he insists on accompanying her on a research trip to Mexico.’
    2. 1.2[in combination]Preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource.
      ‘an energy-efficient heating system’


Late Middle English (in the sense making, causing usually in efficient cause): from Latin efficient- accomplishing from the verb efficere (see effect). The current sense dates from the late 18th century.