ac·​cen·​tu·​ate | \ik-ˈsen(t)-shə-ˌwāt, 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, (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

Yet they are likely accentuated by certain factors that are more specific to Brazil. Ryan Lloyd, Vox, "Pollin’ ain’t easy: why did Brazilian pollsters go so badly astray in 2018?," 26 Oct. 2018 Plenty of blame to go around Nichols identifies how this tendency has been accentuated by some distinctly modern problems. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts," 21 Oct. 2018 For a nod to the ’80s, the shoulder pads were very much accentuated, as was the giant flower appliquéd on the front. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Beyoncé’s Latest Tour Look Delivers Pure ’80s Glamour," 16 Sep. 2018 Dressed professorially in slacks and a blazer, with smooth beige skin, neatly trimmed hair and rimless glasses, her very Americanness was accentuated by her Continental surroundings. Thomas Chatterton Williams, New York Times, "Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?," 27 June 2018 Cruz walked the carpet at the Everybody Knows premiere with husband Javier Bardem in a black curve-hugging gown with structured bodice and a long, full skirt that was accentuated with sheer ruffled appliqués throughout. Colleen Kratofil,, "Cate Blanchett Rewears Her Favorite Armani Dress - and More Must-See Looks from the First Day of Cannes," 8 May 2018 That camaraderie was accentuated by the hometown-show vibe coming from the stage. Maura Johnston,, "Dropkick Murphys get their favorite holiday off to a roaring start," 16 Mar. 2018 That plan — throwing strikes — was perhaps accentuated by pitching coach Chris Bosio using him out of the bullpen earlier this month against the Mets. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Daniel Norris solid in latest pitch for rotation spot," 16 Mar. 2018 The war accentuates a feeling of loss that nonetheless is familiar to readers in any era. Aaron Schnoor, WSJ, "The Great War Produced Some Great Poetry," 9 Nov. 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for accentuate

The first known use of accentuate was circa 1719

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More Definitions for accentuate


ac·​cen·​tu·​ate | \ak-ˈsen-chə-ˌwāt \
accentuated; accentuating

Kids Definition of accentuate

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

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Comments on accentuate

What made you want to look up accentuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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