Definition of effete in English:


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  • 1Affected and overly refined.

    ‘effete trendies from art college’
    • ‘he chatted away, exercising his rather effete charm’
    • ‘They saw us with our floppy fringes and effete mannerisms and went mental.’
    • ‘Being perceived as an effete art student often made the dressing room a very uncomfortable place for me.’
    • ‘I think it's important to read because it makes clear that he's not some effete urbanite like me: he's a sober heartland working-class American who knows whereof he speaks.’
    • ‘Any good Alabama cop knows that writers are effete liberals who stay up all night doing drugs with their decadent friends.’
    • ‘Being far happier sending back despatches from the trenches of war-torn middle-eastern countries, she is none too impressed at the idea of being forced instead to hob-nob with effete Englishmen.’
    • ‘The security of my men and the stability of my prison was at stake, and now, I had to deal with this bleeding-heart, liberal, academic, effete dingdong who was concerned about the independent variable!’
    • ‘I do not think there has been one French leader who had a good word for the tea drinkers of this world: they are lumped together and seen as effete Englishmen, no doubt to the horror of the Irish; and other heavy tea drinkers.’
    • ‘To carry the analogy a little further, the Japanese would be the English of Asia - reserved, effete, cultured to the point of snobbery, at least in the face they present to outsiders.’
    • ‘The effete middle class Oxonian dullards despise him as much for being a working class man with big ideas about himself, who insists on speaking in complete sentences and making sense, as for his politics.’
    • ‘More on Minnesota's Angry Humorist: The New York Post's Page Six column calls him an effete egghead, but that doesn't quite capture it.’
    • ‘In conditions of unbelievable misery, with rain, sleet and hailstones whistling about their ears, the effete foreigners somehow put the balaclava-covered Brits to the sword.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, every American who believes in racial equality and human dignity should sympathize with the rioters, not with the effete bigots on the Seine.’
    • ‘But if losing the Heineken European Cup annoyed the Catalans, then losing the final of the French championships last June to a bunch of effete Parisians made them really sore.’
    • ‘A thought: if your opponent has $100 million to portray you as an effete snob, don't go on vacation to a fancy ski resort in Idaho.’
    • ‘German fox-hunters tended to be aristocratic, in his view effete and probably Anglophile.’
    • ‘His successor was hated as an effete playboy.’
    • ‘A general reading of school textbooks would convince one that the Mughal rulers were all weak, effete and full of vices.’
    • ‘When they became more successful, they were worried that the young men would become effete.’
    affected, over-refined, ineffectual, artificial, studied, pretentious, precious, chi-chi, flowery, mannered
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    1. 1.1(of a man) behaving in a way traditionally associated with women and regarded as inappropriate for a man.
      effeminate, unmasculine, unmanly
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    2. 1.2No longer capable of effective action.
      ‘the authority of an effete aristocracy began to dwindle’
      • ‘The British bourgeoisie is not subaltern to an effete but tenacious aristocracy.’
      • ‘The aristocracy are slightly unreal and living in an effete world.’
      • ‘The effete aristocrats must rely on the butler's practical skills to survive, and the balance of power shifts from master to servant.’
      • ‘Tomes have been written on how, in late 18 th-century France, an effete and ineffectual monarchy was replaced by the tyranny of the sans-culottes and the bloodlust of the Committee for Public Safety.’
      • ‘I'm old enough to have signed contracts that date back to the old law that Lessig wants us to return to - an Oz-like paradise when the U.S. went its own manly way in copyright and spurned the effete conventions of the rest of the world.’
      • ‘You know better than anyone that such obituaries issue from effete societies.’
      • ‘The aged West has grown rather effete and prefers to avoid ideological confrontation.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, National Minorities Commission is effete because the persons, who hold positions there, have personal interests above their constitutional obligations.’
      • ‘For Trotsky the f-word was a sign of slavery, the sigh of the oppressed, but for Steven Berkoff it is ‘a sign of passion’, a mark of working-class resistance to an effete and effeminate middle class.’
      • ‘Europe is weak and effete, a bunch of ingrates who have turned their backs on us after we bailed them out during WWII.’
      weakened, enfeebled, enervated, worn out, exhausted, finished, burnt out, played out, drained, spent, powerless
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/əˈfēt/ /əˈfit/


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘no longer fertile’): from Latin effetus ‘worn out by bearing young’, from ex- ‘out’ + fetus ‘breeding’; related to fetus.