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 Dictionary entry overview: What does effective mean? 

EFFECTIVE (adjective)
  The adjective EFFECTIVE has 6 senses:

1. producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect
2. able to accomplish a purpose; functioning effectively
3. works well as a means or remedy
4. exerting force or influence
5. existing in fact; not theoretical; real
6. ready for service

  Familiarity information: EFFECTIVE used as an adjective is common.

 Dictionary entry details 

EFFECTIVE (adjective)

Sense 1effective [BACK TO TOP]


Producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect


effective; effectual; efficacious

Context examples:

an air-cooled motor was more effective than a witch's broomstick for rapid long-distance transportation / effective teaching methods / effective steps toward peace / made an effective entrance / his complaint proved to be effectual in bringing action / an efficacious law


rough-and-ready (crude but effective for the purpose at hand)

impressive; telling (producing a strong effect)

impelling (markedly effective as if by emotional pressure)

hard-hitting; trenchant (characterized by or full of force and vigor)


useful; utile (being of use or service)

powerful (having great power or force or potency or effect)

potent; stiff; strong (having a strong physiological or chemical effect)

efficient (being effective without wasting time or effort or expense)

efficacious (marked by qualities giving the power to produce an intended effect)


effectiveness; effectivity; effectuality; effectualness (power to be effective; the quality of being able to bring about an effect)


ineffective (not producing an intended effect)

Sense 2effective [BACK TO TOP]


Able to accomplish a purpose; functioning effectively


effective; efficient

Context examples:

people who will do nothing unless they get something out of it for themselves are often highly effective persons... / effective personnel / an efficient secretary / the efficient cause of the revolution


competent (properly or sufficiently qualified or capable or efficient)

Sense 3effective [BACK TO TOP]


Works well as a means or remedy

Context examples:

an effective reprimand / a lotion that is effective in cases of prickly heat


efficacious (marked by qualities giving the power to produce an intended effect)

Sense 4effective [BACK TO TOP]


Exerting force or influence


in force; in effect; effective; good

Context examples:

the law is effective immediately / a warranty good for two years / the law is already in effect (or in force)


operative (being in force or having or exerting force)

Sense 5effective [BACK TO TOP]


Existing in fact; not theoretical; real

Context examples:

a decline in the effective demand / confused increased equipment and expenditure with the quantity of effective work done


actual; existent (presently existing in fact and not merely potential or possible)

Sense 6effective [BACK TO TOP]


Ready for service

Context example:

the fort was held by about 100 effective soldiers


operational (of or intended for or involved in military operations)

Domain category:

armed forces; armed services; military; military machine; war machine (the military forces of a nation)

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 EFFECTIVE: related words searches 

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