Meaning of EFFECT in English

I. ef ‧ fect 1 S1 W1 /ɪˈfekt/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ effect , ↑ effectiveness ≠ ↑ ineffectiveness ; adjective : ↑ effective ≠ ↑ ineffective , ↑ effectual ≠ ↑ ineffectual ; verb : ↑ effect ; adverb : ↑ effectively ≠ ↑ ineffectively ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin effectus , past participle of efficere 'to cause to happen' ]

1 . CHANGE/RESULT [uncountable and countable] a change that is caused by an event, action etc

effect on

My parents’ divorce had a big effect on me.

effect of

the harmful effects of modern farming practices

the long-term effects of the drug

I could feel the effects of the thin mountain air.

This ingredient also has the effect of making your skin look younger.

A system failure has a knock-on effect throughout the whole hotel.

the cumulative effect of human activities on the global environment

A much lower dose of the painkiller can still produce the desired effect.

In mental illness, there is a complex relationship between cause and effect.

⇨ ↑ greenhouse effect , ↑ side effect

► Do not confuse with the verb affect (=to have an effect on something).

2 . put/bring something into effect to make a plan or idea happen:

It won’t be easy to put the changes into effect.

3 . take effect to start to produce results:

The morphine was starting to take effect and the pain eased.


a) take effect/come into effect if a law, rule, or system takes effect or comes into effect, it officially starts

b) be in effect if a law, rule, or system is in effect, it is being used now

5 . with immediate effect/with effect from formal starting to happen immediately, or from a particular date:

Hoskins is appointed manager, with immediate effect.

6 . in effect used when you are describing what you see as the real facts of a situation SYN effectively :

In effect, we’ll be earning less than we were last year.

7 . to good/great/no etc effect used to show how successful an action is:

We tried to wake him, but to no effect.

8 . to this/that/the effect used when you are giving the general meaning of something, rather than the exact words:

Jim told me to go away, or words to that effect.

The letter said something to the effect that she was no longer needed.

9 . IDEA/FEELING [countable usually singular] an idea or feeling that an artist, speaker, book etc tries to make you think of or to feel SYN impression

effect of

Turner’s paintings give an effect of light.

10 . for effect if someone does something for effect, they do it in order to make people notice:

She paused for effect, then carried on speaking.

11 . PERSONAL POSSESSIONS effects [plural] formal the things that someone owns SYN belongings :

Don’s few personal effects were in a suitcase under the bed.

12 . FILM [countable usually plural] an unusual or impressive sound or image that is artificially produced for a film, play, or radio programme

⇨ ↑ sound effects , ↑ special effect

• • •


■ verbs

▪ have an effect on something/somebody

Eating junk food will eventually have an effect on your health.

▪ have the effect of doing something

The news had the effect of making everyone feel better.

▪ produce an effect formal

If we combine these sounds, they produce an effect that is almost jazzy.

▪ feel an effect (=notice it)

Small companies will feel the effect of the recession first.

▪ lessen/reduce an effect (=make an effect smaller or less severe)

The government must take action to reduce the effects of pollution.

▪ cushion the effect of something (=make it less bad)

Lower mortgage rates will cushion the effect of rising house prices.

▪ an effect lasts (=continues)

The effect of the drug lasts about six hours.

▪ an effect wears off (=gradually stops)

The effect of the anaesthetic was beginning to wear off.

■ adjectives

▪ big/major

The teachers’ strike had a big effect on many schools.

▪ significant/substantial/marked (=quite big)

Global warming could have a significant effect on agriculture in many parts of the world.

▪ profound/powerful (=very big, in a way that changes someone or something significantly )

My father’s death had a profound effect on me.

▪ dramatic (=very big and sudden)

Taking the new drug had a dramatic effect on his health.

▪ small

The drugs have a relatively small effect on a lot of patients.

▪ negligible/minimal formal (=very small)

The advertising campaign had a negligible effect on demand.

▪ immediate (=quick and sudden)

The announcement had an immediate effect on stock prices.

▪ good

Inflation can sometimes have some good effects on the economy.

▪ positive/beneficial (=good, or helping someone or something in some way)

The incident had a very positive effect on his career.

▪ bad

Working too hard was beginning to have a bad effect on my health.

▪ negative/detrimental (=bad or harmful)

the negative effects of low rainfall

▪ harmful/damaging (=causing harm or damage to something or someone)

the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol


Some of the effects can be quite damaging.

▪ visible/noticeable (=an effect that you can clearly see)

He drank five beers, but they did not seem to have any visible effect on him.

▪ the adverse effects formal (=the bad effects)

No one told them about the adverse effects of smoking marijuana.

▪ the long-term/short-term effect (=having an effect for a long or short time)

Many boxers suffer with the long-term effects of punches to the head.

▪ a knock-on effect (=an effect that is caused by something that has happened before)

The strike could have a knock-on effect at other airports.

▪ a cumulative effect (=the effect of many things happening one after the other)

The cumulative effect of these policies will be to push up inflation.

▪ the desired effect (=the effect you want)

His team talk had the desired effect because the team went on to win the game.

▪ the full effect (=the whole effect)

We won’t know the full effect of the tax changes until the end of the financial year.

▪ a calming/soothing effect (=one that makes you feel less angry, excited, or nervous)

His words seemed to have a calming effect on the crowd.

• • •


▪ effect a change that is caused by an event, action etc:

The people in this area are still suffering from the effects of the famine.


The treatment had little or no effect.

▪ impact an effect that happens as a result of something important, especially a big and permanent effect:

Changes in technology have had a massive impact on the way we work.


the environmental impact of industrial activity

▪ influence the effect that something has on people’s opinions or behaviour, or on how something develops:

American television has had a big influence on popular culture in the west.


His ideas had a lot of influence at the time.

▪ side effect an unwanted and unplanned effect that something has – used especially about drugs and medical treatment:

Common side effects of the drug may include headaches and muscle pains.

▪ after-effects British English , aftereffects American English bad effects that continue for a long time after the thing that caused them:

A traumatic experience can have severe psychological after-effects.


the after-effects of the war

▪ repercussions /ˌriːpəˈkʌʃ ə ns $ -pər-// the effects that happen later as a result of an event or decision, especially a range of effects that continue for a long time:

The scandal could have serious repercussions for her career.


The judge’s decision is likely to have important repercussions for future cases of this kind.

▪ a knock-on effect British English used when something has an effect on something, which then has an effect on something else:

Higher oil prices have a knock-on effect on other fuels.

▪ footprint the effect that human activities have on the environment, caused by using up its natural resources, pollution, waste etc:

Businesses all over the world must attempt to reduce their environmental footprint.


The house has a low carbon footprint (=it uses very little energy from carbon and therefore is good for the environment) .

II. effect 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ effect , ↑ effectiveness ≠ ↑ ineffectiveness ; adjective : ↑ effective ≠ ↑ ineffective , ↑ effectual ≠ ↑ ineffectual ; verb : ↑ effect ; adverb : ↑ effectively ≠ ↑ ineffectively ]

formal to make something happen SYN bring about :

Many parents lack confidence in their ability to effect change in their children’s behaviour.

► Do not confuse with the verb affect (=to have an effect on something).

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.