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

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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 Ever seen someone use a stone to accentuate their jawline or cheekbones? Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "How To Make Your Lips Look Bigger Naturally," 16 Feb. 2021 The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly looking to accentuate their new Big Three with a new big man. oregonlive, "Latest trade buzz, Miami Heat’s coronavirus-sniffing dogs, Stephen Curry’s record-setting 3-pointer, Chris Paul’s latest chapter, referee history: NBA news and notes," 25 Jan. 2021 Wilkerson offers few detailed stories of Dalit oppression from India’s history or headlines, but instead broadly lays out the precepts of caste there as a backdrop to accentuate the American reality. Gaiutra Bahadur, The New Republic, "Is America Trapped in a Caste System?," 25 Nov. 2020 The couple's condo is in a classic New York Art Deco building, so Human wanted to accentuate some of that original character. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "This Dramatic Makeover Is the Ultimate Inspiration for a Bedroom-Office Hybrid," 4 Dec. 2020 Britain’s approach was similar to that of many European countries where leaders feared that closing schools once again would accentuate inequalities and would irreparably damage children’s academic and emotional development. New York Times, "U.K. Virus Surge Surpasses Spring Peak as Lockdown Choices Loom," 29 Dec. 2020 To tug at the Dixiecrats’ heartstrings, Stryker realized that the photographs presented to them had to accentuate white suffering. Sarah Boxer, The Atlantic, "Whitewashing the Great Depression," 15 Nov. 2020 Dryness can really accentuate the fine lines and wrinkles in the face, Glynn explains. Maya Mcdowell, Marie Claire, "A Beauty Editor's Guide to Winter Skincare," 28 Dec. 2020 The baseball-esque structure of the schedule will likely accentuate the familiarity — and potential bad blood — between clubs. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Five Kings-Ducks games in 12 days? NHL announces its pandemic-altered schedule," 23 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for accentuate

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Accentuate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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.

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Comments on accentuate

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