Definition of effort in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛfət/


1A vigorous or determined attempt: in an effort to reduce inflation, the government increased interest rates
More example sentences
  • Clean Calgary and the City of Calgary are teaming up again in an effort to reduce the amount of garbage being generated locally.
  • Mr Fuller added that the school has made sacrifices in expenditure and eight staff have taken promotions with no pay rise in an effort to reduce costs.
  • The warning has been made by the Royal Life Saving Society in an effort to reduce the number of drowning-deaths.
informal crack, go, shot, stab, bash, whack
formal essay
archaic assay
undertake, aim, set out, take it on oneself
informal have a go/shot/crack/stab/bash
Australian/New Zealand informal give it a burl, give it a fly
formal essay
archaic assay
1.1The result of an attempt: he was a keen gardener, winning many prizes for his efforts
More example sentences
  • She had a fish theme to her headwear and secured a special prize for her efforts.
  • She will pocket all the prize money his efforts bring in over the next year.
  • Graham and the team have now been presented with a wooden spoon booby prize for their efforts.
achievement, accomplishment, performance, attainment, result, feat, deed, exploit, undertaking, enterprise;
work, handiwork, creation, production, opus;
triumph, success, positive result, coup, master stroke, stroke of genius
1.2 [mass noun] Strenuous physical or mental exertion: achieving independence requires some effort and self-discipline
More example sentences
  • He put huge physical and mental effort into achieving this goal, chasing his dream from his native Austria to London and on to California.
  • In the meantime I don't really feel much like blogging - it just requires too much mental effort at the moment.
  • Using a bicycle or walking is definitely an alternative, but both require physical effort.
exertion, force, power, energy, work, muscle, application, labour, the sweat of one's brow, striving, endeavour, toil, struggle, slog, strain, stress, trouble, bother
informal sweat, elbow grease
British informal graft
Australian/New Zealand informal (hard) yakka
archaic travail, moil
1.3 [with modifier] The activities of a group of people with a common purpose: the war effort
More example sentences
  • War complicated the relief effort, but was not the primary problem.
  • About 40 industry members have been recruited to work on the war effort.
  • They have begun to take key towns and cities and captured a critical port so that the humanitarian relief effort is already under way.
2 technical A force exerted by a machine or in a process.
Example sentences
  • The tractive effort of the machine seems weak, especially in this deep snow that we have now.
  • The speed reached by such a body depends on the ratio of the effort exerted to the resistance offered.
  • The mechanical advantage, which we shall call simply the advantage, is the ratio of the load to the effort.



make an effort

Attempt to do something: make an effort to do some kind of abdominal exercise
More example sentences
  • They waste their precious time thinking of Kamma without making an effort.
  • I feel I need make an effort this time around.
  • In all of the above, we also make an effort to point at remaining gaps in our knowledge.

make every (or spare no) effort

Try everything possible to achieve something: the doctor spared no effort in helping my father
More example sentences
  • With the 2008 Olympics less than a month away, China is making every effort to shed its austere image.
  • A winner all the way was coach/trainer Mary Morrissey who spared no effort at training sessions to both teams.
  • Finally, please be careful in your comments posted; we should all make every effort not to offend others with our remarks.
try hard, strive, aim, aspire, venture, undertake, seek, make an effort, spare no effort, exert oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, attempt, give one's all, labour, work, toil, strain, struggle, apply oneself
informal bend/fall/lean over backwards, go all out, give it one's best shot, pull out all the stops, bust a gut, do one's damnedest, go for broke, knock oneself out, break one's neck, move heaven and earth

with effort

With physical difficulty: ‘It’s bad, sir’, he said, controlling his voice with effort
More example sentences
  • She gave a hard suck for emphasis, her pale cheeks pink with effort.
  • Sally takes a deep breath, shuddering with effort.
  • Marcos tries to speak, his throat swells with effort.



Example sentences
  • Shopping for cars turns out to be even less interesting and more effortful than shopping for shoes.
  • It is a commonly reported experience that improvement in golf, as in any highly skilled behavior, requires extensive and effortful practice with feedback.
  • Yoga practice is not necessarily relaxing; it trains us to be centered, awake, confident and flexible within effortful situations.


Example sentences
  • And try as they might, the cast don't breathe life into the play's effortfully rhyming lyrics and his clunky dialogue.
  • A frail, impossibly iconic 24-year-old, he is self - effacing and enigmatic to the point where you begin to suspect an effortfully concealed self-regard.
  • The acting in all this is earnestly, effortfully bland.


Late 15th century: from French, from Old French esforcier, based on Latin ex- 'out' + fortis 'strong'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ef¦fort

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