Professional Style

Effeminate vs. Effete

May 2017
Spot the Error

Daniel readily admits that he has some effete tendencies: his favorite colors are purple and pink; he prefers fashion and modeling shows to live sporting events; and he is always impeccably groomed.

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with Daniel’s tendencies, there is a problem with the sentence. The word effete is used as if it were synonymous with effeminate, and it is not.

Effete means debilitated, worn out, or unable to produce. Effeminate, on the other hand, refers to traits, tastes, and habits that have traditionally been considered feminine, which would be an appropriate description of Daniel’s tendencies.

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