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1. The use of physical or mental energy to do something; exertion.
2. A difficult exertion of strength or will: It was an effort to get up.
3. A usually earnest attempt: Make an effort to arrive promptly.
4. Something done or produced through exertion; an achievement: a play that was his finest effort.
5. Physics
a. Force applied against inertia.
b. The force needed by a machine to accomplish work on a load.

[Middle English, from Old French esfort, from esforcier, to force, exert, from Medieval Latin exfortiāre : Latin ex-, ex- + Latin fortis, strong; see bhergh- in Indo-European roots.]

ef′fort·ful adj.
ef′fort·ful·ly adv.


requiring effort


(ˈɛf ərt fəl)

marked by effort or exertion; labored.
ef′fort•ful•ly, adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.effortful - requiring great physical effort
difficult, hard - not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure; "a difficult task"; "nesting places on the cliffs are difficult of access"; "difficult times"; "why is it so hard for you to keep a secret?"
effortless - requiring or apparently requiring no effort; "the swallows glided in an effortless way through the busy air"


1. Requiring great or extreme bodily, mental, or spiritual strength:
2. Not natural or spontaneous:
References in periodicals archive ?
The relations of parenting, effortful control, and ego control to children's emotional expressivity.
During Biden's endeavor of convincing his audience of his "Atlanticism," he attempts the case for America's "Pacificism." In what seems an effortful reassurance of American hegemony, his argument remains nonpersuasive.
System 2 is our slow, deliberate, analytical and effortful mode of reasoning about the world.
Kapur's record, however, overshadowed Englishman Phillip Archer's effortful six- under 66, which helped him jump from overnight 11th to sole third place.
In particular, fetal nicotine may be associated with impairment in areas recruited for the effortful control of behavior in later childhood, a time when task-orientation and industriousness are imperative for academic success.
Similarly, a previous study by Yeates and colleagues [15] measured a parameter that they called "swallow reserve," comparing effortful saliva swallows to regular effort saliva swallows, and failed to find age-related differences in this measure.
All know how to put to good use the professional dancer's ability to seem effortless in the most effortful positions.
The Great Lie by Myrrha Stanford-Smith Gradually the resilient young muscles began to respond and he could make himself smile at Toby's effortful jokes and was rewarded by seeing the strain leave his friend's eyes.
But the light's transitional nature can also be read as optimistic, as can the effortful "normalcy" some of these images depict.
Moreover, if stiffness occurs on the operated side, Reinke edema on the unoperated side usually prevents the development of a strained, effortful voice by permitting contact with pliable, edematous mucosa.