ac·​cen·​tu·​ate | \ ik-ˈsen(t)-shə-ˌwāt How to pronounce accentuate (audio) , ak- \
accentuated; accentuating

Definition of accentuate

transitive verb

: to make (something) more prominent or noticeable : accent, emphasize With her hair in tight curls that accentuate her pale beauty, she seems lit from within.— Peter Travers trying to accentuate the positive aspects of the program also : intensify accentuates the feeling of despair

Other Words from accentuate

accentuation \ ik-​ˌsen(t)-​shə-​ˈwā-​shən How to pronounce accentuate (audio) , (ˌ)ak-​ \ noun

Did you know?

When you accentuate something, you put an "accent" (or emphasis) on it. So it will come as no surprise to learn that etymologists have traced accentuate back to accentus, the Latin word for accent. Accentus, in turn, combines the prefix ad- with cantus, meaning "song." Other descendants of accentus in English include accent itself, as well as accentual ("of, relating to, or characterized by accent").

Examples of accentuate in a Sentence

He likes to wear clothes that accentuate his muscular build. let's accentuate the saxophones during this piece by having the sax players stand up
Recent Examples on the Web From Spain’s youngest Michelin Star chef to a founder making $1 million a year selling wine glasses designed to accentuate taste, this group of young people is making major waves in fashion, art and design across Europe. Alexandra Sternlicht, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Go readers want to hear—some local color to accentuate the foreignness. Jennifer Wilson, The Atlantic, 19 Apr. 2022 As media teams flutter around the two remaining candidates, President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the nation’s political cartoonists are out in force, ready to accentuate even the smallest slip. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Available in sizes 23–35 and two lengths, these jeans sit high on your waist to accentuate your legs. Lindsey Greenfeld,, 1 Apr. 2022 The Hedwig creator/star was an inspired choice to accentuate Joe Exotic’s theatricality, his equivalent of Carole’s jokes as a coping mechanism. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Mar. 2022 The swollen fenders help accentuate the car’s wider stance. Dan Neil, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 To accentuate it, Parker accessorized with dazzling diamond jewels from Boucheron, including a jaw-dropping statement necklace. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 12 Apr. 2022 The effect was to accentuate the melancholic gap between ambition and actuality. Mark Greif, The Atlantic, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of accentuate

circa 1719, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accentuate

borrowed from Medieval Latin accentuātus, past participle of accentuāre "to accent, stress," derivative of Latin accentus accent entry 1

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Time Traveler for accentuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of accentuate was circa 1719

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accentuate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for accentuate


ac·​cen·​tu·​ate | \ ak-ˈsen-chə-ˌwāt How to pronounce accentuate (audio) \
accentuated; accentuating

Kids Definition of accentuate

: to make more noticeable Your blue shirt accentuates your eyes.

More from Merriam-Webster on accentuate

Nglish: Translation of accentuate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accentuate for Arabic Speakers


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