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[ef-ert] /ˈɛf ərt/
exertion of physical or mental power:
It will take great effort to achieve victory.
an earnest or strenuous attempt:
an effort to keep to the schedule.
something done by exertion or hard work:
I thought it would be easy, but it was an effort.
an achievement, as in literature or art:
The painting is one of his finest efforts.
the amount of exertion expended for a specified purpose:
the war effort.
Chiefly British.
  1. an organized community drive or achievement.
  2. a fund-raising drive.
Mechanics. the force or energy that is applied to a machine for the accomplishment of useful work.
1480-90; < Middle French; Old French esfort, esforz, derivative of esforcier to force (es- ex-1 + forcier to force)
Related forms
countereffort, noun
overeffort, noun
preeffort, noun
1. struggle, striving. Effort, application, endeavor, exertion imply actions directed or force expended toward a definite end. Effort is an expenditure of energy to accomplish some objective: He made an effort to control himself. Application is continuous effort plus careful attention: constant application to duties. Endeavor means a continued and sustained series of efforts to achieve some, often worthy and difficult, end: a constant endeavor to be useful. Exertion is the vigorous and often strenuous expenditure of energy, frequently without an end: out of breath from exertion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for effort
  • Training barracks and battlefields replaced slums and tent cities as the film industry embraced the war effort.
  • The goal of this effort has been to infuse the national geography .
  • We appreciate the effort that went into all of the applications.
  • There is no effort to instill sincerity and intensity of conviction.
  • This game is all about a team effort.
  • Both dishes deliver the satisfying taste of enchiladas with much less effort.
  • Some sunrises are greeted with a breeze―a small but spirit-boosting reward for your effort.
  • Even with the most dedicated effort, it would be a struggle to keep the lake clean.
  • Making baked beans from scratch is a noble but time-consuming effort.
  • If it's a family effort, all the better.
British Dictionary definitions for effort


physical or mental exertion, usually considerable when unqualified: the rock was moved with effort
a determined attempt: our effort to save him failed
achievement; creation: a great literary effort
(physics) an applied force acting against inertia
Derived Forms
effortful, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Old French esfort, from esforcier to force, ultimately from Latin fortis strong; see force1
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 effort

late 15c., from Middle French effort, noun of action from Old French esforz "force, impetuosity, strength, power," back-formation from esforcier "force out, exert oneself," from Vulgar Latin *exfortiare "to show strength" (source of Italian sforza), from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).

Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. [Ortega y Gasset, 1949]
Related: Efforts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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effort in Science
  1. Force applied against inertia.

  2. The force needed by a machine in order to accomplish work on a load. Compare load.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with effort
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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