What is the difference between affect and influence?

affect | influence | Synonyms |

Influence is a synonym of affect.

In context|obsolete|lang=en terms the difference between affect and influence

is that affect is (obsolete) a desire, an appetite while influence is (obsolete) the action of flowing in; influx.

As verbs the difference between affect and influence

is that affect is to influence or alter or affect can be to aim for, to try to obtain while influence is to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to persuade or induce.

As nouns the difference between affect and influence

is that affect is (obsolete) one's mood or inclination; mental state while influence is the power to affect, control or manipulate something or someone; the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as conduct, thoughts or decisions.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) affecter, (etyl) affecter, and its source, the participle stem of (etyl) .


(en verb)
  • To influence or alter.
  • The experience affected me deeply.
    The heat of the sunlight affected the speed of the chemical reaction.
  • * Macaulay
  • The climate affected their health and spirits.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2012-01
  • , author=Steven Sloman, volume=100, issue=1, page=74, magazine=(American Scientist) , title= The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation , passage=Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that “nudges” our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.}}
  • To move to emotion.
  • He was deeply affected by the tragic ending of the play.
  • * Edmund Burke
  • A consideration of the rationale of our passions seems to me very necessary for all who would affect them upon solid and pure principles.
  • Of an illness or condition, to infect or harm (a part of the body).
  • Hepatitis affects the liver.
  • (archaic) To dispose or incline.
  • * Milton
  • men whom they thought best affected to religion and their country's liberty
  • (archaic) To tend to by affinity or disposition.
  • * Newton
  • The drops of every fluid affect a round figure.
  • (archaic) To assign; to appoint.
  • * Thackeray
  • One of the domestics was affected to his special service.
    Usage notes
    Affect'' and effect are sometimes confused. ''Affect'' conveys influence over something that already exists, but ''effect indicates the manifestation of new or original ideas or entities: * “...new policies have effected major changes in government.” * “...new policies have affected major changes in government.” The former indicates that major changes were made as a result of new policies, while the latter indicates that before new policies, major changes were in place, and that the new policies had some influence over these existing changes. The verbal noun uses of affect'' are distinguished from the verbal noun uses of ''effect'' more clearly than the regular verb forms. An ''affect'' is something that acts or acted upon something else. However, an ''effect is the result of an action (by something else).
    * (influence or alter) alter, change, have an effect on, have an impact on, influence * (move to emotion) move, touch * (infect) attack
    Derived terms
    * affectingly

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) (see Etymology 1, above).


    (en verb)
  • (obsolete) To aim for, to try to obtain.
  • * Dryden
  • This proud man affects imperial sway.
  • * 1596 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , VI.10:
  • From that day forth she gan to him affect , / And daily more her favour to augment […].
  • *, I.2.4.vii:
  • A young gentlewoman in Basil was marriedto an ancient man against her will, whom she could not affect ; she was continually melancholy, and pined away for grief […].
  • * 1663 , (Samuel Butler), :
  • But when he pleased to show 't, his speech / In loftiness of sound was rich; / A Babylonish dialect, / Which learned pedants much affect .
  • * Fuller
  • As for Queen Katharine, he rather respected than affected , rather honoured than loved, her.
  • (obsolete) To show a fondness for (something); to choose.
  • *1603 , (John Florio), translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays , III.9:
  • *:Amongst humane conditions this one is very common, that we are rather pleased with strange things then with our owne; we love changes, affect alterations, and like innovations.
  • * Shakespeare
  • For he does neither affect company, nor is he fit for it, indeed.
  • * Hazlitt
  • Do not affect the society of your inferiors in rank, nor court that of the great.
  • To make a show of; to put on a pretence of; to feign; to assume. To make a false display of.
  • to affect ignorance
    He managed to affect a smile despite feeling quite miserable.
  • * Congreve
  • Careless she is with artful care, / Affecting to seem unaffected.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Thou dost affect my manners.
    * (make a false display of) fake, simulate, feign
    Derived terms
    * affected * affectedly * affectedness * affectation

    Etymology 3

    (etyl) affect, from (etyl) affectus,


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) One's mood or inclination; mental state.
  • (obsolete) A desire, an appetite.
  • (psychology) A subjective feeling experienced in response to a thought or other stimulus; mood, emotion, especially as demonstrated in external physical signs.
  • * 1999 , Joyce Crick, translating Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams , Oxford 2008, p. 62:
  • if we are afraid of robbers in a dream, the robbers are certainly imaginary, but the fear is real. This draws our attention to the fact that the development of affects in dreams is not amenable to the judgement we make of the rest of the dream-content [...].
  • * 2004 , Jeffrey Greenberg & Thomas A Pyszczynski, Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology , p. 407:
  • A third study demonstrated that the effects of self-affirmation on self-regulated performance were not due to positive affect .
    Usage notes
    Affect'' and effect can both be used as nouns or verbs, but when used as a noun the word ''affect'' is limited to the above psychology uses and the definitions for ''effect are much more common. See also the above.
    Derived terms
    * affect display * flat affect * labile affect



  • The power to affect, control or manipulate something or someone; the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as conduct, thoughts or decisions.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-26, author=(Leo Hickman)
  • , volume=189, issue=7, page=26, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= How algorithms rule the world , passage=The use of algorithms in policing is one example of their increasing influence on our lives. And, as their ubiquity spreads, so too does the debate around whether we should allow ourselves to become so reliant on them – and who, if anyone, is policing their use.}}
  • An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change.
  • A person or thing exerting such power or action.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= Katrina G. Claw
  • , title= Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.}}
  • (astrology) An element believed to determine someone's character or individual tendencies, caused by the position of the stars and planets at the time of one's birth.
  • (obsolete) The action of flowing in; influx.
  • * Hooker
  • God hath his influence into the very essence of all things.
  • (electricity) Electrostatic induction.
  • Usage notes

    * Adjectives often applied to "influence": cultural, political, social, economic, military, personal, moral, intellectual, mental, good, bad, positive, negative, beneficial, harmful, huge, big, heavy, significant, important, potential, actual, primary.


  • To affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to persuade or induce.
  • The politician wants to influence the public.
    I must admit that this book influenced my outlook on life.
  • To exert, make use of one's influence.
  • (obsolete) To cause to flow in or into; infuse; instill.
  • Derived terms

    * influenceable * influencer * influencive


    * ----