Affect Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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The words “affect” and “effect” are both verbs as well as nouns — and their meanings overlap. This can be pretty confusing for those trying to learn the difference between these two English terms. Not to worry, though; The Word Counter is here to help. 

In this post, we’re exploring the word “affect” to uncover its meaning and how it differs from “effect.” So if you’ve ever wondered about the definition and proper usage of “affect,” keep reading. 

What Is the Definition of Affect?

/əˈfekt/ /ˈæfekt/ /ə.fĕkt’/ /ə-fĕkt/

Our word of the day — affect — can be used as either a verb or noun with a few slightly varying meanings. Below you will find a list of the different usages of affect as both a verb as well as a noun:

  • As a verb, affect means — to produce a change in or to produce an effect; to act on 
  • As a noun, affect refers to (primarily used in relation to psychiatry and psychology) — an observed emotional response or expressed emotional response; most commonly manifested through body language or facial expression.
  • As a verb, affect can additionally mean: to make a pretense of; to make a show of, or to put on an appearance (as in to affect ignorance).

What Is the Etymology of Affect?

The late Middle English word affect was first recorded in 1400-1450. Affect is a derivative of Latin affectus (which is the past participle of afficere), as well as Latin affectāre, Middle French affecter, and Middle English affecten.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Affect?

To further your understanding of the word “affect,” you may find it helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. In short, a synonym is a word that has the same (or nearly the same) meaning as another word, whereas antonyms are words with opposite meanings. 

Synonyms of Affect 

  • Influence
  • Touch
  • Upset
  • Impinge upon
  • Shake up
  • Take hold of
  • Guide
  • Impact on
  • Exert influence on
  • Damage
  • Devastate
  • Trouble
  • Stir
  • Strike
  • Modify
  • Tug at your heartstrings
  • Bowl over
  • Work on 
  • Prevail
  • Mark
  • Regard
  • Relate
  • Go to your head
  • Turn someone’s head
  • Counterfeit
  • Fake
  • Feign 
  • Sham
  • Give the appearance of
  • Make a show of
  • Aspire to
  • Profess
  • Contrive
  • Imitate
  • Fabricate 
  • Go against the grain
  • Be disturbing
  • Playact
  • Bluff
  • Assume
  • Adopt
  • Embrace
  • Be of interest to
  • Be relevant to 
  • Be the business of
  • Espouse
  • Put on
  • Make one’s own
  • Pick up on
  • Go down the line
  • Engage in
  • Tap into
  • Go in for
  • Have an adverse effect on
  • Strike down
  • Cause
  • Induce
  • Trigger 
  • Be distasteful
  • Be injurious to
  • Provoke
  • Compel
  • Elicit 
  • Cause illness to
  • Cause problems 
  • Enact
  • Evoke 
  • Enkindle
  • Break the ice
  • Break-in
  • Be at the bottom of
  • Do
  • Effectuate
  • Work up
  • Bring to pass
  • Make unwell
  • Frequentative 
  • Be sickening
  • Cause discomfort to 
  • Be unsuitable
  • Agonize
  • Martyr
  • Smite
  • Cause suffering to
  • Grieve
  • Burden
  • Persecute
  • Irk
  • Irritate
  • Apply to
  • Impact on
  • Pertain to
  • Bear on
  • Psych out
  • Stun 

Antonyms of Affect

  • Desensitise 
  • Numb
  • Stupefy
  • Blunt
  • Deaden
  • Be indifferent to
  • Paralyze 
  • Represent
  • Embody
  • Epitomize 
  • Exemplify
  • Typify
  • Stand for
  • Portray
  • Show
  • Emblematize
  • Admit
  • Allow
  • Guard
  • Safeguard
  • Keep safe
  • Keep from harm
  • Stop
  • Save
  • Refrain from
  • Throw out
  • Toss out
  • Give up
  • Dispense with 
  • Get rid of
  • Limit
  • Fend
  • Render null and void
  • Declare null and void 
  • Shield
  • Screen
  • Shelter
  • Tell the truth about
  • Give away
  • Unfold
  • Release
  • Be unaffected
  • Be indifferent
  • Not touch 
  • Spill
  • Bare
  • Be real
  • Be honest
  • Tell the truth
  • Unveil
  • Betray
  • Discourage
  • Deter
  • Obstruct
  • Counteract
  • Aid
  • Soothe
  • Have no consequence on 
  • Support
  • Take care of
  • Calm
  • Compose
  • Yield
  • Enlighten
  • Surrender
  • Have no bearing on
  • Have no relevance on
  • Organize
  • Be happy
  • Make happy
  • Stay away from
  • Please
  • Be irrelevant to
  • Have no effect on 
  • Delight
  • Assist
  • Cancel out
  • Clamp down on
  • Crackdown on
  • Comfort
  • Solace 

How Can You Use Affect in a Sentence?

Now that you understand what “affect” means, it’s time to practice using it in a sentence. 

Take the next few minutes testing your newfound knowledge by conjuring up as many sentences as you can using our word of the day. To get you started, we went ahead and compiled a short list of example sentences for you to study below:

“Various victims of schizophrenia most commonly lapse into flat affect — which is this zombie-like state of ostensible apathy.” 

“I know the definition behind affect, but I am not quite sure what effect means… could you please explain?”

“Her hugs affect me in such a positive way; I just can’t explain it.” 

“Bella’s speech was full of strong emotions and affected me greatly.”

“My childhood teacher may not be aware of it, but she affected my self-image in a way that I can never repay her. I would not be the man I am today without her guidance and how she believed in me.” 

“Come on now, don’t let a little bad weather affect your mood for the entire day. There is still plenty we can do indoors; why don’t we finally get some art projects started!” 

What Are the Translations of Affect?

The word “affect” is used all around the globe. With this in mind, let’s review some of the most common translations, shall we?

Translations of affect:

  • Afrikaans — Beïnvloed
  • Arabic — تؤثر
  • Bulgarian — засягам
  • Chinese (simplified) — 影响
  • Croatian — utjecati
  • Czech — ovlivnit
  • Danish — påvirke
  • Dutch — beïnvloeden
  • Finnish — vaikuttaa
  • French — affecter
  • German — beeinflussen, Affek 
  • Greek — επηρεάζω
  • Italian — influenzare
  • Japanese — 障る
  • Korean — 영향
  • Norwegian — påvirke
  • Polish — wpływać
  • Portuguese — afetar
  • Russian — влиять (affékt)
  • Spanish — afectar
  • Swedish — påverka
  • Thai — กระทบ
  • Turkish — etkilemek
  • Ukrainian — вплинути
  • Vietnamese — Ảnh hưởng đến


Our word of the day — affect — is most often used as a verb, meaning “to have an impact on,” as in “the rainy weather will affect our camping plans.” Not to be confused with the noun effect, affect is the outward expression of emotion and feelings. 


Affect Definition & Meaning |

AFFECT: Definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

55 Synonyms & Antonyms for AFFECT |