1 [v. uh-fekt; n. af-ekt]
verb (used with object)
to act on; produce an effect or change in: Cold weather affected the crops.
to impress the mind or move the feelings of: The music affected him deeply.
(of pain, disease, etc.) to attack or lay hold of.
Psychology. feeling or emotion.
Psychiatry. an expressed or observed emotional response: Restricted, flat, or blunted affect may be a symptom of mental illness, especially schizophrenia.
Obsolete, affection; passion; sensation; inclination; inward disposition or feeling.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin affectus acted upon, subjected to; mental or emotional state (past participle and action noun of afficere), equivalent to af- af- + fec- (combining form of facere to make, do) + -tus action noun suffix or -tus past participle suffix

affectable, adjective
affectability, noun

1. influence, sway; modify, alter. 2. touch, stir.

Affect1 and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect1 means “to act on” or “to move” (His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept); affect2 means “to pretend” or “to assume” (new students affecting a nonchalance they didn't feel). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes. The noun effect means “result, consequence”: the serious effects of the oil spill. The noun affect1 pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. Affect2 is not used as a noun. Unabridged


2 [uh-fekt]
verb (used with object)
to give the appearance of; pretend or feign: to affect knowledge of the situation.
to assume artificially, pretentiously, or for effect: to affect a Southern accent.
to use, wear, or adopt by preference; choose; prefer: the peculiar costume he affected.
to assume the character or attitude of: to affect the freethinker.
(of things) to tend toward habitually or naturally: a substance that affects colloidal form.
(of animals and plants) to occupy or inhabit; live in or on: Lions affect Africa. Moss affects the northern slopes.
to have affection for; fancy.
to aim at; aspire to.
verb (used without object)
Obsolete. to incline, tend, or favor (usually followed by to ): He affects to the old ways.

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French affecter < Latin affectāre to strive after, feign (frequentative of afficere to do to), equivalent to af- af- + fec- (see affect1) + -tāre frequentative suffix

affecter, noun

1. See pretend.

See affect1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To affect
World English Dictionary
1.  to act upon or influence, esp in an adverse way: damp affected the sparking plugs
2.  to move or disturb emotionally or mentally: her death affected him greatly
3.  (of pain, disease, etc) to attack
4.  psychol See also affection the emotion associated with an idea or set of ideas
[C17: from Latin affectus, past participle of afficere to act upon, from ad- to + facere to do]

affect2 (əˈfɛkt)
1.  to put on an appearance or show of; make a pretence of: to affect ignorance
2.  to imitate or assume, esp pretentiously: to affect an accent
3.  to have or use by preference: she always affects funereal clothing
4.  to adopt the character, manner, etc, of: he was always affecting the politician
5.  (of plants or animals) to live or grow in: penguins affect an arctic climate
6.  to incline naturally or habitually towards: falling drops of liquid affect roundness
[C15: from Latin affectāre to strive after, pretend to have; related to afficere to affect1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

14c., "mental state," from L. affectus, pp. of afficere "act on, have influence on, to do something to," a verb of broad meaning, from ad- "to" + facere (pp. factus) "do" (see factitious). The verb meaning "to make an impression on" is attested from 1630s.

"to make a pretense of," 1660s, earlier "to assume the character of (someone)" (1590s); originally in Eng. "to aim at, aspire to, make for" (late 15c.), from M.Fr. affecter (15c.), from L. affectare "to strive after, aim at," freq. of afficere (pp. affectus) "to do something to, act on" (see
affect (n.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

affect af·fect (ə-fěkt')
v. af·fect·ed, af·fect·ing, af·fects

  1. To have an influence on or affect a change in.

  2. To attack or infect, as a disease.

n. (āf'ěkt')
  1. A feeling or emotion as distinguished from thought, or action.

  2. A strong feeling with active consequences.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
The chemical often referred to as the bonding hormone has already been shown to
  affect the social skills of people with autism.
Over time, these cycles affect personality development.
In theory, virtual currency could affect money supply.
No one knows at what point tax burdens truly affect investment and productivity.
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