effete 1620s, from L. effetus (usually in fem. effeta) "exhausted, unproductive, worn out (with bearing offspring), past bearing," lit. "that has given birth," from a lost verb, *efferi, from ex- "out" (see EX- (Cf. ex-)) + fetus "childbearing, offspring" (see FETUS (Cf. 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.).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Effete — Ef*fete , a. [L. effetus that has brought forth, exhausted; ex + fetus that has brought forth. See {Fetus}.] No longer capable of producing young, as an animal, or fruit, as the earth; hence, worn out with age; exhausted of energy; incapable of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • effete — is a 17c word originally meaning ‘worn out by bearing offspring’ (from Latin fetus) with reference to animals. It rapidly developed the transferred meaning ‘(of a material substance) that has lost its special quality or virtue’, and by the late… …   Modern English usage

  • effete — [adj1] spoiled, exhausted burnt out*, corrupt, debased, decadent, decayed, declining, decrepit, degenerate, dissipated, dissolute, drained, enervated, enfeebled, far gone*, feeble, immoral, obsolete, overrefined, overripe, played out*, soft,… …   New thesaurus

  • effete — index decadent, ineffective, ineffectual, otiose, powerless, stale, unproductive Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • effete — ► ADJECTIVE 1) affected, over refined, and ineffectual. 2) having lost vitality; worn out. DERIVATIVES effetely adverb effeteness noun. ORIGIN Latin effetus worn out by bearing young ; related to FETUS(Cf. ↑fetus) …   English terms dictionary

  • effete — [e fēt′, ifēt′] adj. [L effetus, that has brought forth offspring, exhausted < ex , out + fetus, productive: for IE base see FEMALE] 1. no longer capable of producing; spent and sterile 2. lacking vigor, force of character, moral stamina,… …   English World dictionary

  • effete — adjective Etymology: Latin effetus, from ex + fetus fruitful more at feminine Date: 1660 1. no longer fertile 2. a. having lost character, vitality, or strength < the effete monarchies…of feudal Europe G. M. Trevelyan > b. marked by weakness or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • effete — adjective 1) effete trendies Syn: affected, pretentious, precious, mannered, overrefined; ineffectual; informal la di da Ant: unpretentious 2) an effete young man Syn: effeminate …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • effete — effetely, adv. effeteness, n. /i feet /, adj. 1. lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society. 2. exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force. 3. unable to produce; sterile. [1615 25; < L… …   Universalium

  • effete — ef|fete [ıˈfi:t US e ] adj formal [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: effetus, from fetus producing young ] 1.) weak and powerless in a way that you dislike ▪ an attack against effete intellectuals 2.) an effete man looks or behaves like a woman …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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