A Dictionary of the English Language
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Affect (verb)

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To Affe'ct. v.a. [affecter, Fr. afficio, affectum, Lat.]

  1. To act upon; to produce effects in any other thing.

                                    The sun
    Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
    As might affect the earth with cold, and heat,
    Scarce tolerable.
    Milton's Paradise Lost, b. x.

    The generality of men are wholly governed by names, in matters of good and evil; so far as these qualities relate to, and affect, the actions of men. South's Sermons.

    Yet even those two particles do reciprocally affect each other with the same force and vigour, as they would do at the same distance in any other situation imaginable. Bentley's Sermons.

  2. To move the passions.

    As a thinking man cannot but be very much affected with the idea of his appearing in the presence of that Being, whom none can see and live; he must be much more affected, when he considers, that this Being whom he appears before, will examine the actions of his life, and reward or punish him accordingly. Addison. Spectator, № 513.

  3. To aim at; to endeavour after: spoken of persons.

                    Atrides broke
    His silence next, but ponder'd ere he spoke:
    Wise are thy words, and glad I would obey,
    But this proud man affects imperial sway.
    Dryden's Iliad.

  4. To tend to; to endeavour after: spoken of things.

    The drops of every fluid affect a round figure, by the mutual attraction of their parts; as, the globe of the earth and sea affects a round figure, by the mutual attraction of its parts by gravity. Newton's Opticks.

  5. To be fond of; to be pleased with; to love; to regard with fondness.

    That little which some of the heathen did chance to hear, concerning such matter as the sacred Scripture plentifully containeth, they did in wonderful sort affect. Hooker, b. i.

                There is your crown;
    And he that wears the crown immortally,
    Long guard it yours! If I affect it more,
    Than as your honour, and as your renown,
    Let me no more from this obedience rise.
    Shak. Henry IV.

    Think not that wars we love, and strife affect;
    Or that we hate sweet peace.
    Fairfax, b. ii.

    None but a woman could a man direct
    To tell us women what we most affect.
    Dryd. Wife of Bath.

  6. To make a shew of something; to study the appearance of any thing; with some degree of hypocrisy.

    Another nymph, amongst the many fair,
    Before the rest affected still to stand,
    And watch'd my eye preventing my command.
    Prior.

    These often carry the humour so far, till their affected coldness and indifference quite kills all the fondness of a lover. Addison. Spectator, № 171.

    The conscious husband, whom like symptoms seize,
    Charges on her the guilt of their disease;
    Affecting fury, acts a madman's part,
    He'll rip the fatal secret from her heart.
    Granville.

  7. To imitate in an unnatural and constrained manner.

    Spenser, in affecting the ancients, writ no language; yet I would have him read for his matter, but as Virgil read Ennius. Ben. Johnson's Discoveries.

  8. To convict of some crime; to attaint with guilt: a phrase merely juridical.

    By the civil law, if a dowry with a wife be promised and not paid, the husband is not obligated to allow her alimony. But if her parents shall become insolvent by some misfortune, she shall have alimony, unless you can affect them with fraud, in promising what they knew they were not able to perform. Ayliffe's Parergon.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Ayliffe, John (43) · Bentley, Richard (57) · Dryden, John (788) · Fairfax, Edward (30) · Granville, George (23) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Jonson, Ben (70) · Milton, John (449) · Newton, Isaac (40) · Prior, Matthew (162) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140)

Attributes: French (385) · Latin (690) · Verb Active (289)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Affect (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 28, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=15546.


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