- lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society.
- exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force.
- unable to produce; sterile.
- weak, ineffectual, or decadent as a result of overrefinementan effete academic
- exhausted of vitality or strength; worn out; spent
- (of animals or plants) no longer capable of reproduction
1620s, from Latin effetus (usually in fem. effeta) “exhausted, unproductive, worn out (with bearing offspring), past bearing,” literally “that has given birth,” from a lost verb, *efferi, from ex- “out” (see ex-) + fetus “childbearing, offspring” (see fetus). Figurative use is earliest in English; literal use is rare. Sense of “exhausted” is 1660s; that of “intellectually or morally exhausted” (1790) led to “decadent” (19c.).