affect

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French affecter, French affecter, and its source, the participle stem of Latin afficere (to act upon, influence, affect, attack with disease), from ad- + facere (to make, do).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

affect (third-person singular simple present affects, present participle affecting, simple past and past participle affected)

  1. (transitive) To influence or alter.
    • 2012 January 1, Steven Sloman, “The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 74: 
      Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that “nudges” our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.
    The experience affected me deeply.
    The heat of the sunlight affected the speed of the chemical reaction.
    • Macaulay
      The climate affected their health and spirits.
  2. (transitive) To move to emotion.
    He was deeply affected by the tragic ending of the play.
    • Edmund Burke
      A consideration of the rationale of our passions seems to me very necessary for all who would affect them upon solid and pure principles.
  3. (transitive) Of an illness or condition, to infect or harm (a part of the body).
    Hepatitis affects the liver.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To dispose or incline.
    • Milton
      men whom they thought best affected to religion and their country's liberty
  5. (transitive, archaic) To tend to by affinity or disposition.
    • Newton
      The drops of every fluid affect a round figure.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To assign; to appoint.
    • Thackeray
      One of the domestics was affected to his special service.
Usage notes[edit]

Affect and effect are sometimes confused. Affect conveys influence over something that already exists, but effect indicates the manifestation of new or original ideas or entities:

  • “...new policies have effected major changes in government.”
  • “...new policies have affected major changes in government.”

The former indicates that major changes were made as a result of new policies, while the latter indicates that before new policies, major changes were in place, and that the new policies had some influence over these existing changes.

The verbal noun uses of affect are distinguished from the verbal noun uses of effect more clearly than the regular verb forms. An affect is something that acts or acted upon something else. However, an effect is the result of an action (by something else).

Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Anglo-Norman affecter (strive after), Middle French affecter (feign), and their source, Latin affectāre (to strive after, aim to do, pursue, imitate with dissimulation, feign), frequentative of afficere (to act upon, influence) (see Etymology 1, above).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

affect (third-person singular simple present affects, present participle affecting, simple past and past participle affected)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To aim for, to try to obtain. [15th-19th c.]
    • Dryden
      This proud man affects imperial sway.
  2. (transitive, now rare) To feel affection for (someone); to like, be fond of. [from 16th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.10:
      From that day forth she gan to him affect, / And daily more her favour to augment […].
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, I.2.4.vii:
      A young gentlewoman in Basil was married [] to an ancient man against her will, whom she could not affect; she was continually melancholy, and pined away for grief []
    • 1663, Samuel Butler, Hudibras, part 1, canto 1:
      But when he pleased to show 't, his speech / In loftiness of sound was rich; / A Babylonish dialect, / Which learned pedants much affect.
    • Fuller
      As for Queen Katharine, he rather respected than affected, rather honoured than loved, her.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To show a fondness for (something); to choose. [from 16th c.]
    • Shakespeare
      For he does neither affect company, nor is he fit for it, indeed.
    • Hazlitt
      Do not affect the society of your inferiors in rank, nor court that of the great.
  4. (transitive) To make a show of; to put on a pretence of; to feign; to assume. To make a false display of. [from 16th c.]
    to affect ignorance
    He managed to affect a smile despite feeling quite miserable.
    • Congreve
      Careless she is with artful care, / Affecting to seem unaffected.
    • Shakespeare
      Thou dost affect my manners.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Middle English affect, from Latin affectus, adfectus (a state of mind or body produced by some (external) influence, especially sympathy or love), from afficere (to act upon, influence)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

affect (plural affects)

  1. (obsolete) One's mood or inclination; mental state. [14th-17th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A desire, an appetite. [16th-17th c.]
  3. (psychology) A subjective feeling experienced in response to a thought or other stimulus; mood, emotion, especially as demonstrated in external physical signs. [from 19th c.]
    • 1999, Joyce Crick, translating Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Oxford 2008, p. 62:
      if we are afraid of robbers in a dream, the robbers are certainly imaginary, but the fear is real. This draws our attention to the fact that the development of affects [transl. Affectentwicklung] in dreams is not amenable to the judgement we make of the rest of the dream-content [...].
    • 2004, Jeffrey Greenberg & Thomas A Pyszczynski, Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology, p. 407:
      A third study demonstrated that the effects of self-affirmation on self-regulated performance were not due to positive affect.
Usage notes[edit]

Affect and effect can both be used as nouns or verbs, but when used as a noun the word affect is limited to the above psychology uses and the definitions for effect are much more common. See also the usage notes as a verb above.

Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References[edit]