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From Middle French effort, from Old French esfort, deverbal of esforcier (to force, exert), from Vulgar Latin *exfortiō, from Latin ex + fortis (strong).



effort (plural efforts)

  1. The work involved in performing an activity; exertion.
    It took a lot of effort to find a decent-sized, fully-furnished apartment within walking distance of the office.   He made a conscious effort to not appear affected by the stories in the paper.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXIII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      The slightest effort made the patient cough. He would stand leaning on a stick and holding a hand to his side, and when the paroxysm had passed it left him shaking.
    • 2011 June 22, Press Association, “Manchester United offer Park Ji-sung a new two-year contract”, in The Guardian:
      The 30-year-old South Korean, who joined United in 2005, retired from international duty after last season's Asian Cup in an effort to prolong his club
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
  2. An endeavor.
    Although he didn't win any medals, Johnson's effort at the Olympics won over many fans.
    • 2012 March, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, “The British Longitude Act Reconsidered”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 87:
      But was it responsible governance to pass the Longitude Act without other efforts to protect British seamen? Or might it have been subterfuge—a disingenuous attempt to shift attention away from the realities of their life at sea.
  3. A force acting on a body in the direction of its motion.
    • 1858, Macquorn Rankine, Manual of Applied Mechanics:
      the two bodies between which the effort acts


Derived terms[edit]



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effort (third-person singular simple present efforts, present participle efforting, simple past and past participle efforted)

  1. (uncommon, intransitive) To make an effort.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To strengthen, fortify or stimulate
    • 1684, Thomas Fuller, G. S., Anglorum Speculum: Or The Worthies of England, in Church and State[1]:
      When old, he lived in London where, being High-minded and Poor, he was exposed to the contempt of disingenuous persons. Yet he efforted his Spirits with a Commemoration of the Days of Old.



Inherited from Middle French, from Old French esfort, from esforcier; morphologically, deverbal from efforcer. Compare Spanish esfuerzo, Catalan esforç, Portuguese esforço, Italian sforzo.



effort m (plural efforts)

  1. effort
    Ils n’ont pas fait le moindre effort pour être polis avec lui.
    They have not made the slightest effort to be polite with them.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Romanian: efort

Further reading[edit]


Middle French[edit]


Old French.


effort m (plural effors)

  1. strength; might; force
  2. (military) unit; division


  • effort on Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330–1500) (in French)

Old French[edit]


effort oblique singularm (oblique plural efforz or effortz, nominative singular efforz or effortz, nominative plural effort)

  1. Alternative form of esfort