noun, emer·gen·cy often attributive \i-ˈmər-jənt-sē\

: an unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action

plural emer·gen·cies

Full Definition of EMERGENCY

:  an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
:  an urgent need for assistance or relief <the mayor declared a state of emergency after the flood>

Examples of EMERGENCY

  1. Her quick thinking in an emergency saved the baby's life.
  2. <an alert, quick-thinking girl who is good to have around in an emergency>

First Known Use of EMERGENCY

circa 1631

Synonym Discussion of EMERGENCY

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, straits, crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events <an important juncture in our country's history>. exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation <provide for exigencies>. emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster <the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies>. contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence <contingency plans>. pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency <come through in a pinch>. straits applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult <in dire straits>. crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference <a crisis of confidence>.
EMERGENCY Defined for Kids


noun emer·gen·cy \i-ˈmər-jən-sē\
plural emer·gen·cies

Definition of EMERGENCY for Kids

:  an unexpected situation that requires immediate action <a medical emergency>
Medical Dictionary


noun emer·gen·cy \i-ˈmər-jən-sē\
plural emer·gen·cies

Medical Definition of EMERGENCY

:  an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action: as a :  a sudden bodily alteration (as a ruptured appendix or surgical shock) such as is likely to require immediate medical attention b :  a usually distressing event or condition that can often be anticipated or prepared for but seldom exactly foreseen
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