accent

noun
ac·​cent | \ ˈak-ˌsent , chiefly British -sənt\

Definition of accent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an effort in speech to stress one syllable over adjacent syllables also : the stress thus given a syllable a word with the accent on the second syllable
2 : a distinctive manner of expression: such as
a : a way of speaking typical of a particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a region spoke with a Russian accent
b : an individual's distinctive or characteristic inflection, tone, or choice of words usually used in plural
3 : rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse usually at regular intervals
4a : a mark (such as ´, `, ˆ) used in writing or printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel should be pronounced
b : an accented letter

5 music

a : greater stress given to one musical tone than to its neighbors
6a : emphasis laid on a part of an artistic design or composition
b : an emphasized detail or area especially : a small detail in sharp contrast with its surroundings
c : a substance or object used for emphasis a plant used as a decorative accent
7 : a mark placed to the right of a letter or number and usually slightly above it: such as
a : a double prime
b : prime
8 : special concern or attention : emphasis an accent on youth
9 archaic : utterance

accent

verb
ac·​cent | \ ˈak-ˌsent , ak-ˈ\
accented; accenting; accents

Definition of accent (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give special attention or prominence to (something) TV shows that accent youth : to make (something) more emphatic, noticeable, or distinct columns that accent the vertical lines of the building
2a : to pronounce (part of a word) with greater stress or force : stress Accent the second syllable of the word "before."
b : to mark with a written or printed accent

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Other Words from accent

Noun

accentless \ -​ləs \ adjective

Examples of accent in a Sentence

Noun

Regional accents are common in the U.S. She spoke with an American accent. The tourist had a foreign accent. He has a heavy southern accent. The word “before” has the accent on the last syllable. Put the accent on the first syllable of the word. The accents in the French word “émigré” show how the letter “e” should be pronounced.

Verb

the town's promotional literature accents its vital role in American history
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the 1950s, at the height of midcentury-modern design’s heyday, the piece of furniture that was being reinvented the most was the accent chair. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Is What The Original Egg Chair Looks Like," 16 Jan. 2019 Instead of the normal silver and green coloring, the Platinum models feature a two-tone silver and gray tent package, and gray and charcoal accent colors throughout. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Versatile travel trailer camps four and hauls gear for $10K," 29 Nov. 2018 When decorating her gym, Oprea borrowed inspiration from her actual home, using the same colors—gold, black, and white—and similar accent pieces, including black chairs, a modern chandelier, and marble coffee table. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Build a Budget-Friendly at-Home Gym With These Tips From Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea," 18 Nov. 2018 There are tons of options for things like enabling dark mode, hiding the notch, changing UI accent colors, hiding status bar icons, tuning an audio equalizer, and engaging different navigation modes. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "OnePlus 6T Review: Amazing value with an even more amazing fingerprint reader," 29 Oct. 2018 The others were added in different places as accent pieces. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stone farmhouse in Cedarburg has grown but kept its rustic vibe," 12 July 2018 In November, the two venerable companies bowed a line of silver-colored, wheeled carry-on bags in two accent-color offerings. Kavita Daswani, latimes.com, "Kim Kardashian pop-up comes to Century City; Fendi, Rimowa team on new round of stylish luggage," 22 June 2018 The light-colored walls and abundant natural light give the decor's wood accent pieces center stage. Ottavia Zappala, azcentral, "Mediterranean-style Gold Canyon house reflects the calm of its mountain surroundings," 17 May 2018 On offer are lamps, garment racks, side tables, and accent chairs; all dyed a shade of vibrant violet. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Crosby Studios Opens an Ultra-Cool, Ultraviolet Pop-Up at Opening Ceremony," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Opocensky bakes and salts them in hay, then garnishes them with Japanese cream accented with Sicilian lemons and chive oil and tops it all with perch and sevruga caviar. Eric Rosen, WSJ, "How Young Chefs Are Making Their Marks on Hong Kong’s Fine Food Scene," 10 Dec. 2018 One versatile accessory is the head scarf or turban, which can be tied into a wide variety of different shapes to completely cover or accent your hair. SELF, "7 Ways to Look Flawless While Transitioning to Natural Hair," 30 Dec. 2018 Most of the houses are two or two-and-a-half stories tall, and the front doors typically boast a grander appearance than their predecessors had, with pediments and even columns accenting the entrance. Has the Revival Been Revived? Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Colonial Revival Design," 19 Nov. 2018 The frock was by local Ascot designer Emma Louise, while her white-brim hat accented with a striped ribbon was by milliner Jess Collett. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Ferguson's Green Royal Wedding Dress Was a Subtle Tribute to Her Wedding to Prince Andrew," 12 Nov. 2018 Colman wore a simple black gown, accented with a fishnet-like, sparkling fabric around her neck and arms. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Claire Foy and Olivia Colman Are Queens of the Golden Globe Red Carpet," 6 Jan. 2019 The crisp, white look was further accented by her slicked back blonde hair and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Arrived to the VMAs in a Classic White Blazer Dress," 21 Aug. 2018 All this makes for steady upward motion, accented by how the upper third of the tower, which holds the condos, narrows to an average of less than 9,300 square feet per floor. John King, SFChronicle.com, "New nimble, frisky SoMa tower fits neatly into surroundings," 6 July 2018 Layers of soft corn tortillas, sautéed vegetables, baby spinach and cheddar cheese are accented with just the right amount of spicy red salsa to be pleasantly cooled by a dollop of plain yogurt. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Colorful vegetarian menu crosses bridge to spring," 7 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of accent

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for accent

Noun

Middle English, "modulation of the voice," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, "modulation of the voice, prominence in pitch on a given syllable," going back to Old French, borrowed from Latin accentus (loan translation of Greek prosōidía), from ad- ad- + cantus "song," action noun derivative of canere "to sing" — more at chant entry 1, prosody

Note: The word occurs in Old English as accent in the sense "accent mark" in Byrhtferth's Enchiridion, but there is no continuity between this and later uses.

Verb

borrowed from Middle French accenter "to pronounce with greater stress," in part derivative of accent accent entry 1, in part borrowed from Medieval Latin accentāre, variant of accentuāre — more at accentuate

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Statistics for accent

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accent

The first known use of accent was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for accent

accent

verb
ac·​cent | \ ˈak-ˌsent , ak-ˈsent\
accented; accenting

Kids Definition of accent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give a greater force or stress
2 : to mark with a written or printed accent

accent

noun
ac·​cent | \ ˈak-ˌsent \

Kids Definition of accent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a way of pronouncing words shared by the people of a particular country or region
2 : greater stress or force given to a syllable of a word in speaking or to a beat in music
3 : a mark (as ˈ or ˌ) used in writing or printing to show the place of greater stress on a syllable

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More from Merriam-Webster on accent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with accent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for accent

Spanish Central: Translation of accent

Nglish: Translation of accent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accent for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about accent

Comments on accent

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