affect

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English affecten, from Latin affectāre, from Latin affectus, the participle stem of Latin afficere (to act upon, influence, affect, attack with disease), from ad- + facere (to make, do).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: ə.fĕkt', IPA(key): /əˈfɛkt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To influence or alter.
    Synonyms: alter, change, have an effect on, have an impact on, influence
    The experience affected me deeply.
    The heat of the sunlight affected the speed of the chemical reaction.
  2. (transitive) To move to emotion.
    Synonyms: move, touch
    He was deeply affected by the tragic ending of the play.
    • 1757, Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
      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, pathology) Of an illness or condition, to infect or harm (a part of the body).
    Synonyms: attack, harm, infect
    Hepatitis affects the liver.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To dispose or incline.
  5. (transitive, archaic) To tend to by affinity or disposition.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To assign; to appoint.
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).

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English affecten, 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. (transitive) To make a show of; to put on a pretense of; to feign; to assume. To make a false display of. [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: fake, simulate, feign
    to affect ignorance
    to affect a British accent
    He managed to affect a smile despite feeling quite miserable.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To aim for, to try to obtain. [15th-19th c.]
    • 1662, Jacques Olivier, Richard Banke, transl., A Discourse of Women, Shewing Their Imperfections Alphabetically, OCLC 14507264, page 15:
      For it is believed, that he never was married, affecting and embracing Chastity through the whole course of his Life.
    • a. 1701, John Dryden, “The First Book of Homer’s Ilias”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, [], volume IV, London: [] J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, [], published 1760, OCLC 863244003, page 430:
      Wiſe are thy words, and glad I would obey, / But this proud man affects imperial ſway.
  3. (transitive, rare) To feel affection for (someone); to like, be fond of. [from 16th c.]
    • c. 1589, William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act III, Scene 1,[1]
      There is a Lady in Verona heere
      Whom I affect: but she is nice, and coy,
      And naught esteemes my aged eloquence.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.10:
      From that day forth she gan to him affect, / And daily more her favour to augment []
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition I, section 2, member 4, subsection 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 []
    • 1655, Thomas Fuller, The Church-History of Britain, London: John Williams, Book 5, p. 173,[2]
      As for Queen Katharine, he rather respected, then affected; rather honoured, then loved her.
    • 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.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To show a fondness for (something); to choose. [from 16th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III.9:
      Amongst humane conditions this one is very common, that we are rather pleased with strange things then with our owne; we love changes, affect alterations, and like innovations.
    • c. 1607, William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act I, Scene 2,[3]
      Go, let him have a table by himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is he fit for’t, indeed.
    • 1825, William Hazlitt, “On the Conduct of life: or Advice to a schoolboy” in Table-Talk Volume II, Paris: A. & W. Galignani, p. 284,[4]
      Do not affect the society of your inferiors in rank, nor court that of the great.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From 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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin affectus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

affect m (plural affects)

  1. (psychology, philosophy) affect; emotion

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Scots[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Verb[edit]

affect (third-person singular present affects, present participle affectin, past affectit, past participle affectit)

  1. to affect
  2. (law) to burden property with a fixed charge or payment, or other condition or restriction

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

affect (plural affects)

  1. affect, mood

References[edit]