in effect


  1. something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence: Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.
  2. power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence: His protest had no effect.
  3. the state of being operative or functional; operation or execution; accomplishment or fulfillment: to bring a plan into effect.
  4. a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or a speech.
  5. meaning or sense; purpose or intention: She disapproved of the proposal and wrote to that effect.
  6. the making of a desired impression: We had the feeling that the big, expensive car was only for effect.
  7. an illusory phenomenon: a three-dimensional effect.
  8. a real phenomenon (usually named for its discoverer): the Doppler effect.
  9. special effects.

verb (used with object)

  1. to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen: The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring.

  1. in effect,
    1. for practical purposes; virtually: His silence was in effect a confirmation of the rumor.
    2. essentially; basically.
    3. operating or functioning; in force: The plan is now in effect.
  2. take effect,
    1. to go into operation; begin to function.
    2. to produce a result: The prescribed medicine failed to take effect.


  1. something that is produced by a cause or agent; result
  2. power or ability to influence or produce a result; efficacywith no effect
  3. the condition of being operative (esp in the phrases in or into effect)the law comes into effect at midnight
  4. take effect to become operative or begin to produce results
  5. basic meaning or purpose (esp in the phrase to that effect)
  6. an impression, usually one that is artificial or contrived (esp in the phrase for effect)
  7. a scientific phenomenonthe Doppler effect
  8. in effect
    1. in fact; actually
    2. for all practical purposes
  9. the overall impression or resultthe effect of a painting


  1. (tr) to cause to occur; bring about; accomplish

late 14c., “a result,” from Old French efet (13c., Modern French effet) “result, execution, completion, ending,” from Latin effectus “accomplishment, performance,” from past participle stem of efficere “work out, accomplish,” from ex- “out” (see ex-) + facere “to do” (see factitious).

Meaning “impression produced on the beholder” is from 1736. Sense in stage effect, sound effect, etc. first recorded 1881. The verb is from 1580s. Related: Effecting; effection.


  1. Something brought about by a cause or an agent; a result.
  2. The power to produce an outcome or achieve a result; influence.
  3. A scientific law, hypothesis, or phenomenon.
  4. The condition of being in full force or execution.
  5. Something that produces a specific impression or supports a general design or intention.


  1. To bring into existence.
  2. To produce as a result.
  3. To bring about.

For all practical purposes, as in This testimony in effect contradicted her earlier statement. [Late 1500s]


In or into operation, as in This law will be in effect in January. Related phrases include go into effect and take effect, which mean “become operative,” as in This law goes into effect January 1, or It takes effect January 1. Similarly, put into effect means “make operative,” as in When will the judge’s ruling be put into effect? [Late 1700s] Also see in force, def. 2.

see in effect; into effect; take effect; to that effect.

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