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.
an organized community drive or achievement.
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)

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
effort (ˈɛfət)
1.  physical or mental exertion, usually considerable when unqualified: the rock was moved with effort
2.  a determined attempt: our effort to save him failed
3.  achievement; creation: a great literary effort
4.  physics an applied force acting against inertia
[C15: from Old French esfort, from esforcier to force, ultimately from Latin fortis strong; see force1]

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

late 15c., from M.Fr. effort, noun of action from O.Fr. esforz, from esforcier "force out, exert oneself," from V.L. *exfortiare "to show strength," from L. ex- "out" + fortis "strong."
"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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
effort   (ěf'ərt)  Pronunciation Key 
  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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