9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ih-feet] /ɪˈfit/
lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent:
an effete, overrefined society.
exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out:
an effete political force.
unable to produce; sterile.
Origin of effete
1615-25; < Latin effēta exhausted from bearing, equivalent to ef- ef- + fēta having brought forth, feminine past participle of lost v.; see fetus
Related forms
effetely, adverb
effeteness, noun
noneffete, adjective
noneffetely, adverb
noneffeteness, noun
uneffete, adjective
uneffeteness, noun
Can be confused
effeminate, effete, feminine, womanish, womanly (see synonym study at womanly)
2. enervated, debilitated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for effete
  • How hopelessly effete and elitist an intellectual approach becomes in such a setting.
  • Drop that wimpy ad campaign with its effete typeface.
  • Chamberlain proves impressively adept at playing both the effete king and the more dashing brother.
  • Doctorow is aiming at is too effete to react quickly to a crude challenge.
  • Much of the other drawing, painting and sculpture here is too effete.
  • The pictures are to die for, even if the theme is effete.
  • Observers say one of the project's main risks is that it could be perceived as an effete, academic endeavor.
  • The action melodrama, although it rarely pops its shaggy head into the comparatively effete.
  • Lisping, stuttering and effete, he was considered a fine conversationalist and companion.
  • As for company, he stood to gain more from garrulous oldsters with gnarled hands and long memories than from effete littérateurs.
British Dictionary definitions for effete


weak, ineffectual, or decadent as a result of overrefinement: an effete academic
exhausted of vitality or strength; worn out; spent
(of animals or plants) no longer capable of reproduction
Derived Forms
effetely, adverb
effeteness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin effētus having produced young, hence, exhausted by bearing, from fētus having brought forth; see fetus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for effete

1620s, from Latin effetus (usually in fem. effeta) "exhausted, unproductive, worn out (with bearing offspring), past bearing," literally "that has given birth," from a lost verb, *efferi, from ex- "out" (see ex-) + fetus "childbearing, offspring" (see fetus). Figurative use is earliest in English; literal use is rare. Sense of "exhausted" is 1660s; that of "intellectually or morally exhausted" (1790) led to "decadent" (19c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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