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effort (n.)

late 15c., "laborious attempt, strenuous exertion," from French effort, from Old French esforz "force, impetuosity, strength, power," verbal noun from esforcier "force out, exert oneself," from Vulgar Latin *exfortiare "to show strength" (source of Italian sforza), from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).

Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. [José Ortega y Gasset, writing of Goethe in Partisan Review, vol. xvi, part ii, 1949]

Related: Efforts "voluntary exertion," also "result of exertion."

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Definitions of effort from WordNet

effort (n.)
earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something;
made an effort to cover all the reading material
Synonyms: attempt / endeavor / endeavour / try
effort (n.)
use of physical or mental energy; hard work;
he got an A for effort
Synonyms: elbow grease / exertion / travail / sweat
effort (n.)
a notable achievement;
the book was her finest effort
Synonyms: feat / exploit
effort (n.)
a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end;
contributed to the war effort
Synonyms: campaign / cause / crusade / drive / movement
From wordnet.princeton.edu