Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday March 28, 2001
effete \eh-FEET; ih-\ , adjective:
1. No longer capable of producing young; infertile; barren; sterile.
2. Exhausted of energy; incapable of efficient action; worn out.
3. Marked by self-indulgence or decadence; degenerate.
4. Overrefined; effeminate.
Nor was it only the confirmed anti-democrats who thought democracy effete and worn out.
-- Mark Mazower, Dark Continent
"Editors", he snorts. "I think most of the editors I knew back East were effete snobs who showed an acute disdain for the sales and marketing side. It made me sick."
-- "Earning It", New York Times, July 9, 1995
In a democracy decadence does not arrive when the aristocracy becomes effete -- it shows up in the life of the average man.
-- Andrew Holleran, In September, the Light Changes
He wasn't refined or effete, but a horse trader, smart, clever, always with his ear to the ground.
-- Bob Ortega, In Sam We Trust
Effete derives from Latin effetus, "weakened by giving birth; worn out, exhausted; effete," from ex- + fetus, "bearing young, pregnant."