Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree
1. Something brought about by a cause or agent; a result.
2. The power to produce an outcome or achieve a result: The government’s action had little effect on the trade imbalance.
3. Advantage; avail: used her words to great effect in influencing the jury.
4. The condition of being in full force or execution; operativeness: a new regulation that goes into effect tomorrow.
a. Something that produces a specific impression or supports a general design or intention: The lighting effects emphasized the harsh atmosphere of the drama.
b. A particular impression: large windows that gave an effect of spaciousness.
c. Production of a desired impression: spent lavishly on dinner just for effect.
6. The basic or general meaning; import: He said he was greatly worried, or words to that effect.
7. effects Movable belongings; goods.
In essence; to all purposes: testimony that in effect contradicted her earlier statement.
With the general meaning that: He said something to the effect that he was sorry.
Synonyms: effect, consequence, result, outcome, upshot
These nouns denote an occurrence, situation, or condition that is produced by a cause or agent. Effect stresses the idea of influence or alteration: a drug whose main effect is to lower hypertension; increased erosion that was the effect of deforestation.
A consequence follows naturally or logically from its cause: a broken wrist that was the consequence of a fall; a reduction in crime that was the consequence of better policing.
A result is viewed as the end product of the operation of the cause: improved his grades as a result of better study habits; an experiment with an unexpected result.
An outcome more strongly implies finality and may suggest the resolution of a complex or lengthy process: The trial’s outcome might have changed if the defendant had testified.
An upshot is a decisive result, often of the nature of a climax: “The upshot of the matter … was that she showed both of them the door” (Robert Louis Stevenson).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. something that is produced by a cause or agent; result
2. power or ability to influence or produce a result; efficacy: with no effect.
3. the condition of being operative (esp in the phrases in or into effect): the law comes into effect at midnight.
4. take effect to become operative or begin to produce results
5. basic meaning or purpose (esp in the phrase to that effect)
6. an impression, usually one that is artificial or contrived (esp in the phrase for effect)
7. a scientific phenomenon: the Doppler effect.
a. in fact; actually
b. for all practical purposes
9. the overall impression or result: the effect of a painting.
(tr) to cause to occur; bring about; accomplish
[C14: from Latin effectus a performing, tendency, from efficere to accomplish, from facere to do]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
1. something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence.
2. power to produce results; efficacy; force: The protest had no effect.
3. the state of being effective or operative; operation or execution: to bring a plan into effect.
4. a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or speech.
5. general meaning or purpose; intent: I wrote a letter to that effect.
6. the making of a desired impression: The expensive car was only for effect.
7. an illusory phenomenon: a three-dimensional effect.
8. a scientific phenomenon (usu. named for its discoverer): the Doppler effect.
9. to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish: to effect a change.
1. in effect, essentially; basically.
a. to go into operation; begin to function.
b. to produce a result.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin effectus the carrying out (of a task, etc.), hence, that which is achieved, outcome]
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
- Affect me [with revulsion] like the smell of a cheap cigar left smoldering in an ashtray —Jonathan Valin
In Valin’s novel, Final Notice, the descriptive frame of reference for the simile is a tattoo.
- The certainty [of his desire] landed in the bottom of my stomach like a flatiron —Mary Gordon
- The change [in living accommodations] would be like going from Purgatory to Paradise —Louisa May Alcott
- The conviction that I am loved and loving affects me like a military bracing —John Cheever
- The effort made him choke like a tiger at a bone —Robert Frost
- Every gesture … aroused a beat chant like the beat of the heart of the desert —Anaĩs Nin
- (This city) exacerbates loneliness in me the same way that water makes Alka-Seltzer fizz —Pat Conroy
- The general effect was exactly like a microscopic view of a small detachment of black beetles in search of a dead rat —John Ruskin
- Has a disruptive effect … like a torpedo coming down Main Street —Anon politician on Gramm-Rudman Law, February, 1986
- Has as little effect on me as water on a duck’s back —American colloquialism, attributed to South
A variation: “As water rolling off a duck’s back.”
- Her absence felt like a presence, an electrical charge of silence in the house —John Updike
- His death served to remind me, like a custard pie in the face, that life is sometimes like one big savage joke —Sue Grafton
- (A blast of Prince [music] … ) hit me like a feather boa with a length of lead pipe in it —Jonathan Valin
- Its [melancholy] effect upon you is somewhat similar to what would probably be produced by a combined attack of toothache, indigestion and a cold in the head —Jerome K. Jerome
- It [forcing an old priest into retirement] was just like ripping an old tree out of the ground —W. P. Kinsella
- The kind whisper went to my heart like a dagger —Charlotte Brontë
- Offering a flight attendant a $20 bill for a $2 drink is like spitting on an Alabama state trooper —Louis D. Wilson, Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1986
- Pain and poverty and thwarted ambition … can break the virtues like brittle bones —George Garrett
- Seeing her again … was like rediscovering a half-forgotten landmark —Ann Petry
- [When a tired-looking woman smiles] some of the years of hard living fell away like happy tears —James Crumley
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Affect /ə’fekt/ is a verb. To affect someone or something means to cause them to change, often in a negative way.
There are many ways in which computers can affect our lives.
The disease affected Jane’s lungs.
Effect /ɪ’fekt/ is usually a noun. An effect is something that happens or exists because something else has happened.
The report shows the effect of noise on people in the factories.
This has the effect of separating students from teachers.
You can say that something has a particular effect on something else.
Improvement in water supply can have a dramatic effect on health.
These changes will have a significant effect on our business.
Effect is sometimes a verb. If you effect something that you are trying to achieve, you succeed in achieving it. This is a formal use.
The new law will give us the power to effect change.
A result of something is an event or situation that happens or exists because of it.
The result of this announcement was that the share price of the company rose by 10 per cent.
I nearly missed the flight as a result of getting stuck in traffic.
I cut my own hair often with disastrous results.
When something produces a change in a thing or person, don’t refer to this change as a “https://www.thefreedictionary.com/result” on the thing or person. The word you use is effect.
Diet has a significant effect on your health.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
Past participle: effected
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011