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(pronounced ih-feet)  adjective


1. drained of vigor, strength, or forcefulness; having lost energy or vitality; lacking in strength of character or moral force; exhausted; ineffective. 2. decadent or degenerate; overrefined; naïve or impractical; soft; exhibiting snobbishness; having unrestrained appetites and desires. 3. effeminate; not conforming to stereotypical masculine traits.

Main Example

  • Over the past year in Kabul, Afghanistan, there has been hardly a month without a high profile terrorist incident. In fact, January 2018 saw as many as three sensational attacks within a mere ten days, including one bombing that killed over 100 people, and an attack on that city’s iconic and heavily guarded Intercontinental Hotel, which killed several Americans. Analysts attribute the fast deteriorating situation in that nation to a political crisis stemming from a “power struggle between the presidency and local leaders” which in turn has rendered the national security apparatus effete.

Workplace Examples

  • The new CEO has really turned things around. Before she took over, our management was riven with so much dissension that nothing was being done to arrest our fast-declining market share. Analysts described our company as intellectually bankrupt and effete.
  • No, my brother won’t be accompanying us to the art museum. He thinks that going to places like that is effete!

Other Examples

  • this author telling someone: “During my recent travels, I bumped into a professor of computer science who is so well informed on every subject under the sun, and who possesses such a brilliant understanding of the world’s disputes and what to do about them, that I was left speechless. Yet, he has never given a talk or speech, or even written so much as a two-sentence letter to the editor to share his wisdom with us lesser mortals. What an effete brand of intellectualism, I thought to myself.”
  • an effete marketing strategy; an effete group of pseudoscientists; a manager rendered effete as a leader because he (or she) never stands up to upper management on behalf of his (or her) direct reports; a political party in decline because of its effete leaders
  • a macho father frowning at the habits of his “mama’s boy” son whom he regards as being effete; a pair of slender, faddish sunglasses looking a bit effete on a burly football player; the “Marlboro Man” conveying the image of someone who is as un-effete as they come
  • author Carl Bernstein crediting a secret alliance of President Reagan and Pope John Paul for rendering the Soviet Union effete and thus hastening the end of the Cold War
  • The 2004 exhibit “Dangerous Liaisons” at the New York Met focused on the lifestyle of the upper class in 18th century France. The historic clothing and furniture--every bit of which was designed to create a sexually charged atmosphere and facilitate seduction--symbolized the excesses of that effete period which led up to the French Revolution in 1789.

© 2018 V.J. Singal
No part of this may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.

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