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From Latin effētus (that has given birth; exhausted).



effete (comparative more effete, superlative most effete)

  1. (obsolete) Of substances, quantities etc: exhausted, spent, worn-out.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: What It Is. With All the Kindes, Cavses, Symptomes, Prognosticks, and Seuerall Cvres of It. In Three Maine Partitions, with Their Seuerall Sections, Members, and Svbsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically Opened and Cut Up, by Democritvs Iunior, with a Satyricall Preface, Conducing to the Following Discourse, 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , II.4.1.v:
      Nature is not effœte, as he saith, or so lavish, to bestow all her gifts upon an age, but hath reserved some for posterity, to shew her power, that she is still the same, and not old or consumed.
  2. Of people: lacking strength or vitality; feeble, powerless, impotent.
    • 2007, Jules Witcover, Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, page 74:
      A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete core of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals (Spiro Agnew, October 1969)
    • 1929, George Macaulay Trevelyan, History of England: From 1485 to the End of the Reign of Queen Anne, 1714, page 457:
      Amid the effete monarchies and princedoms of feudal Europe, morally and materially exhausted by the Thirty Years' War, the only hope of resistance to France lay in the little Republic of merchants, Holland.
  3. Decadent, weak through self-indulgence.

Derived termsEdit






  1. vocative masculine singular of effētus