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.

Primary Meanings of effect

a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon
Full Definitions of effect

n a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon

“the magnetic effect was greater when the rod was lengthwise”
consequence, event, issue, outcome, result, upshot
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materialisation, materialization, offspring
something that comes into existence as a result
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
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
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
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)
the consequence of an effort or activity
impact, wallop
a forceful consequence; a strong effect
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
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
a result
fallout, side effect
any adverse and unwanted secondary effect
(economics) any indirect effect of public expenditure
(physics) a secondary influence on a system that causes it to deviate slightly
a means of exerting influence or gaining advantage
a tendency or force that influences events
a response that reveals a person's feelings or attitude
a secondary phenomenon that is a by-product of another phenomenon
depolarisation, depolarization
a loss of polarity or polarization
Type of:
any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning

n a symptom caused by an illness or a drug

“the effects of sleep loss”
“the effect of the anesthetic”
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a delayed effect of a drug or therapy
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:
(medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease

n an outward appearance

“she retained that bold effect in her reproductions of the original painting”
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the impression produced by a person
the general impression that something (a person or organization or product) presents to the public
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
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appearance, visual aspect
outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

n an impression (especially one that is artificial or contrived)

“he just did it for effect
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

n (of a law) having legal validity

“the law is still in effect
Type of:
validity, validness
the quality of having legal force or effectiveness

n the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work

burden, core, essence, gist
Type of:
import, meaning, significance, signification
the message that is intended or expressed or signified

v produce

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
bring about abruptly
hasten, induce, rush, stimulate
cause to occur rapidly
contribute or conduce to
get over
to bring (a necessary but unpleasant task) to an end
carry out
make perfect; bring to perfection
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

v act so as to bring into existence

effect a change”
bring to bear
bring into operation or effect
extend to a certain degree
make effective from an earlier date
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

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