AskDefine | Define effectiveness

Dictionary Definition



1 power to be effective; the quality of being able to bring about an effect [syn: effectivity, effectualness, effectuality] [ant: ineffectiveness]
2 capacity to produce strong physiological or chemical effects; "the toxin's potency"; "the strength of the drinks" [syn: potency, strength]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. The property of being effective.
  2. The degree to which something is effective.
    He questioned the effectiveness of the treatment.

Related terms


property of being effective
  • Finnish: tehokkuus
  • German: Wirksamkeit
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: به‌سوودی
degree to which something is effective
  • Finnish: tehokkuus, teho
  • German: Wirksamkeit

Extensive Definition

Effectiveness means the capability of producing an effect.
In Physics, an effective theory is, similar to a phenomenological theory, a framework intended to explain certain (observed) effects without the claim that the theory correctly models the underlying (unobserved) processes. An example is an effective field theory that "pretends" that certain effects are caused by a field even if it is known that this is not actually the case. In a way, any theory of Physics is fundamentally an effective theory, since there is no meaningful distinction of observables and reality within the scope of Physics (see also FAPP, cogito ergo sum, Phenomenalism, Pragmatism).
The word effective is sometimes used in a quantitative way, "being very or not much effective". However it does not inform on the direction (positive or negative) and the comparison to a standard of the given effect. Efficacy, on the other hand, is the ability to produce a desired amount of the desired effect, or success in achieving a given goal. Contrary to efficiency, the focus of efficacy is the achievement as such, not the resources spent in achieving the desired effect. Therefore, what is effective is not necessarily efficacious, and what is efficacious is not necessarily efficient.
An ordinary way to distinguish among effectiveness, efficacy, and efficiency:
  • efficiency: doing things "right", i.e. in the best and most economical way
  • efficacy: getting things done, i.e. meeting immediate targets
  • effectiveness: doing "right" things, i.e. setting right targets to achieve an overall goal (the effect)
  • (effectivity: mostly synonym to effectiveness; usage is rather rare)

See also

For the medical meaning of 'effectiveness', see discussion at efficacy.
effectiveness in Czech: Efektivita
effectiveness in German: Effektivität
effectiveness in Lithuanian: Veiksmingumas
effectiveness in Portuguese: Efetividade
effectiveness in Thai: ประสิทธิภาพ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acme, amperage, applicability, armipotence, authority, authorization, availability, be-all and end-all, beef, bite, bitingness, black power, blue ribbon, brute force, capability, championship, charge, charisma, clout, cogence, cogency, command, compulsion, control, cuttingness, dint, directorship, dominion, drive, duress, effect, effectuality, efficacy, efficiency, energy, first place, first prize, flower power, force, force majeure, forcefulness, full blast, full force, functionality, guts, headship, hegemony, height, helpfulness, highest, imperium, impressiveness, incisiveness, influence, jurisdiction, kingship, leadership, lordship, main force, main strength, mana, management, mastership, mastery, maximum, might, might and main, mightiness, mordancy, most, moxie, muscle power, ne plus ultra, nervosity, nervousness, new high, operability, palms, paramountcy, performance, pizzazz, poignancy, poop, potence, potency, potentiality, power, power pack, power structure, power struggle, powerfulness, practicability, practical utility, practicality, prepotency, presidency, primacy, productiveness, productivity, profitability, puissance, pull, punch, push, record, rule, say, serviceability, sinew, sinewiness, sovereignty, steam, strength, strong arm, strong language, superiority, superpower, supremacy, sway, top spot, trenchancy, usability, use, usefulness, utility, utilizability, validity, vehemence, verve, vigor, vigorousness, vim, virility, virtue, virulence, vitality, wattage, weight, zenith
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