Consider a situation where a circumstance causes an effect. Once the circumstance changes or vanishes, the effect is expected to cease. In certain cases, the observable effect continues to transpire, which, for an ignorant observer may appear contradictory.

What can be used as short expression that most people can relate to and recognize the delay as merely temporary phenomenon surely bound to end shortly?

I'm thinking about the term butterfly effect, which most people understand referring to a seemingly insignificant event that by an unexpected and non-obvious extension becomes the root cause to a dramatic outcome.

What kind of "effect" could the situation in question be described as?

An example would be a room that's cold as a duck due to an open window during winter. The circumstance here is the window is open and the effect accordingly it's cold as duck. Once someone shuts the window, the room will become warm but it takes a few minutes of intensive heating before the duckly coldness vanishes. Someone might claim that closing the window didn't help and then, I'd like to counter by saying it will but you need to consider the what-what effect.

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    The butterfly effect means something else. I suggest after-effect. Jan 6, 2021 at 16:47
  • If it is a bad effect then aftermath would work although in principle that could last for a long time.
    – mdewey
    Jan 6, 2021 at 16:56
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    There are some other compounds with 'after' too, like aftermath, aftershocks. Search at onelook.com for after* Jan 6, 2021 at 16:56
  • @WeatherVane Please provide a reference to that "something else". I'm only aware of a the meaning I described in my question (which comes from Chaos Theory). As for your suggestion, after-effect, it definitely satisfies he conditions specified in my question. However, If possible, I was hoping for something more metaphorical and colorful. Never the less, good suggestion. Jan 6, 2021 at 16:58
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    You appear to be well aware what the "butterfly effect" is. It does not mean what the question title asks – something has ended but temporarily affects still. Jan 6, 2021 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


The first phrase that I thought of was "lingering", or "continuing to exist for longer than is usual or desirable".

For example,

The cold is just the lingering effect of the window being left open all night—it will pass soon.

The word "lingering" isn't just for effects - people, gazes, smells, doubts, illnesses among many other things can "linger" or "linger on".

For example,

The newlyweds lingered in the kitchen drinking their morning coffee, reluctant to go back to work after their honeymoon.

  • I feel it's a sufficiently clear expression and I can use lingering effect, so answer accepted. That said, I can't help wondering if there's a less direct way to express it, implying the state, rather than pointing it out bluntly. What if one would like to make a friendly tease suggesting that said effect should be understood and obvious? I'm not an author but if one would write a book, how would such an indirect implication be formulated? Perhaps it's too vague to say? Jan 7, 2021 at 10:00
  • @KonradViltersten You may want to hold off accepting an answer for a while - it hasn't even been a day yet. Someone else might come along and think of something that is a bit closer to what you're looking for.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:36
  • Good point. However, your reply is an answer fulfilling all the conditions and I'm satisfied with it. Should there be a new answer that significantly improves the content, I'll gladly re-accept. What do you think about that? Jan 7, 2021 at 18:36
  • It’s entirely your choice - the only reason I mentioned it is that sometimes people looking for questions to answer don’t look at questions that have accepted answers.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 7, 2021 at 18:44

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