effect

Effect is the result of an action, as in those “cause and effect” papers you might write in English class. Your topic could be how your late-night tuba playing (cause) has driven your roommate insane (effect).

Another noun use of effect describes an appearance or impression that’s created on purpose, such as the dramatic effect of the bright red walls in your kitchen, or sound effects from your favorite movie. Effect appears less often as a verb, but when it does, it means “produce.” Usually, it’s a noun. It can even refer to your belongings, like when you get kicked out and your former roomie begs you to get all of your personal effects.

Definitions of effect
  1. noun
    a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon
    “the magnetic effect was greater when the rod was lengthwise”
    synonyms: consequence, event, issue, outcome, result, upshot
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    materialisation, materialization, offspring
    something that comes into existence as a result
    aftereffect
    any result that follows its cause after an interval
    aftermath, backwash, wake
    the consequences of an event (especially a catastrophic event)
    bandwagon effect
    the phenomenon of a popular trend attracting even greater popularity
    brisance
    the shattering or crushing effect of a sudden release of energy as in an explosion
    butterfly effect
    the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, e.g., a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro might change the weather in Chicago
    by-product, byproduct
    a secondary and sometimes unexpected consequence
    change
    the result of alteration or modification
    coattails effect
    (politics) the consequence of one popular candidate in an election drawing votes for other members of the same political party
    Coriolis effect
    (physics) an effect whereby a body moving in a rotating frame of reference experiences the Coriolis force acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation; on Earth the Coriolis effect deflects moving bodies to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere
    dent
    an appreciable consequence (especially a lessening)
    domino effect
    the consequence of one event setting off a chain of similar events (like a falling domino causing a whole row of upended dominos to fall)
    harvest
    the consequence of an effort or activity
    impact, wallop
    a forceful consequence; a strong effect
    influence
    the effect of one thing (or person) on another
    knock-on effect
    a secondary or incidental effect
    branch, offset, offshoot, outgrowth
    a natural consequence of development
    product
    a consequence of someone's efforts or of a particular set of circumstances
    placebo effect
    any effect that seems to be a consequence of administering a placebo; the change is usually beneficial and is assumed result from the person's faith in the treatment or preconceptions about what the experimental drug was supposed to do; pharmacologists were the first to talk about placebo effects but now the idea has been generalized to many situations having nothing to do with drugs
    position effect
    (genetics) the effect on the expression of a gene that is produced by changing its location in a chromosome
    repercussion, reverberation
    a remote or indirect consequence of some action
    response
    a result
    fallout, side effect
    any adverse and unwanted secondary effect
    spillover
    (economics) any indirect effect of public expenditure
    perturbation
    (physics) a secondary influence on a system that causes it to deviate slightly
    purchase
    a means of exerting influence or gaining advantage
    wind
    a tendency or force that influences events
    reaction
    a response that reveals a person's feelings or attitude
    epiphenomenon
    a secondary phenomenon that is a by-product of another phenomenon
    depolarisation, depolarization
    a loss of polarity or polarization
    type of:
    phenomenon
    any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning
  2. noun
    a symptom caused by an illness or a medication
    “the effects of sleep loss”
    “the effect of the anesthetic”
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    aftereffect
    a delayed effect of a drug or therapy
    bummer
    a bad reaction to a hallucinogenic drug
    side effect
    a secondary and usually adverse effect of a drug or therapy
    black tongue, furry tongue, hairy tongue
    a benign side effect of some antibiotics; dark overgrowth of the papillae of the tongue
    type of:
    symptom
    (medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease
  3. noun
    an outward appearance
    “she retained that bold effect in her reproductions of the original painting”
    synonyms: impression
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    figure
    the impression produced by a person
    image
    the general impression that something (a person or organization or product) presents to the public
    mark
    the impression created by doing something unusual or extraordinary that people notice and remember
    tout ensemble
    a total impression or effect of something made up of individual parts
    type of:
    appearance, visual aspect
    outward or visible aspect of a person or thing
  4. noun
    an impression (especially one that is artificial or contrived)
    “he just did it for effect
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    types:
    sound effect
    an effect that imitates a sound called for in the script of a play
    special effect
    an effect used to produce scenes that cannot be achieved by normal techniques (especially on film)
    stage effect
    a special effect created on the stage
    type of:
    belief, feeling, impression, notion, opinion
    a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
  5. noun
    (of a law) having legal validity
    “the law is still in effect
    synonyms: force
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    type of:
    validity, validness
    the quality of having legal force or effectiveness
  6. noun
    the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
    synonyms: burden, core, essence, gist
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    type of:
    import, meaning, significance, signification
    the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  7. verb
    produce
    synonyms: effectuate, set up
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    accomplish, action, carry out, carry through, execute, fulfil, fulfill
    put in effect
    draw, get
    earn or achieve a base by being walked by the pitcher
    precipitate
    bring about abruptly
    hasten, induce, rush, stimulate
    cause to occur rapidly
    serve
    contribute or conduce to
    get over
    to bring (a necessary but unpleasant task) to an end
    run
    carry out
    consummate
    make perfect; bring to perfection
    consummate
    fulfill sexually
    do, perform
    get (something) done
    complete, discharge, dispatch
    complete or carry out
    facilitate, help
    be of use
    type of:
    cause, do, make
    give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally
  8. verb
    act so as to bring into existence
    effect a change”
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    types:
    bring to bear
    bring into operation or effect
    carry
    extend to a certain degree
    backdate
    make effective from an earlier date
    type of:
    act, move
    perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)
Commonly confused words

affect / effect

Choosing between affect and effect can be scary. Think of Edgar Allan Poe and his RAVEN: Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. You can't affect the creepy poem by reading it, but you can enjoy the effect of a talking bird.

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