9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ih-fish-uh nt] /ɪˈfɪʃ ənt/
performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable:
a reliable, efficient assistant.
satisfactory and economical to use:
Our new air conditioner is more efficient than our old one.
producing an effect, as a cause; causative.
utilizing a particular commodity or product with the least waste of resources or effort (usually used in combination):
a fuel-efficient engine.
Origin of efficient
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin efficient- (stem of efficiēns), equivalent to ef- ef- + fic-, combining form of facere to make, do1 + -ent- -ent
Related forms
efficiently, adverb
nonefficient, adjective
nonefficiently, adverb
quasi-efficient, adjective
quasi-efficiently, adverb
superefficient, adjective
unefficient, adjective
1. effectual. See effective. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for efficient
  • Durable furnishings and well-organized tools and materials are key to a small but efficient workspace.
  • The learning-sciences literature has demonstrated that learning is more efficient and effective in such groups.
  • The results revealed that human skulls, far from being weak, are quite tough and unusually efficient for their size.
  • It remains to be seen how weather conditions affect the air flows that make formation flight more efficient.
  • In my opinion, it would prove to be a very efficient strategy.
  • Everyone moans about the poor efficiency of solar cells, but very little money has been spent in making them more efficient.
  • Homeschooling will likely be more efficient for my kids.
  • Skill is the ability to make efficient decisions in new situations.
  • Everything in her life is organized, minimal, and efficient.
  • Plan details carefully to make efficient use of small spaces.
British Dictionary definitions for efficient


functioning or producing effectively and with the least waste of effort; competent
(philosophy) producing a direct effect; causative
Derived Forms
efficiently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin efficiēns effecting
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 efficient

"capable of producing the desired effect," late 14c., "making, producing immediate effect," from Old French efficient and directly from Latin efficientem (nominative efficiens) "effective, efficient, producing, active," present participle of efficere "work out, accomplish" (see effect). Meaning "productive, skilled" is from 1787. Related: Efficiently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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