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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 In its simplest and most common form, equalization on headphones is usually employed to accentuate low frequencies in music, enhancing bass and drums and opening up a more immersive and visceral listening experience for users. Popular Science, "Best headphones: Get good-quality audio equipment at your budget," 17 Dec. 2020 In this context, the British critic’s vow to accentuate the positive is not a sign of taking responsibility but of shirking it, a refusal to address the real problems in the restaurant industry. Theodore Gioia, The New Republic, "Death to the Negative Restaurant Review," 16 Dec. 2020 Sweeping horizontal lines accentuate the sense of a spacious cockpit. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Quick takes: High-mpg diesel Suburban, quirky Genesis, excellent Elantra," 17 Dec. 2020 And it’s those qualities precisely — keen eye, strong sense of design — that so sharply accentuate the world Winn created in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "As the new movie ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ demonstrates, Dallas’ Robert H. Winn is a gifted artist," 14 Dec. 2020 Also with symmetry top of mind, Laskey suggests flanking that focal point with something like bookcases or pedestals that will further accentuate the fireplace while providing some display and storage space. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "3 Living Room Layout Templates to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Space," 9 Dec. 2020 The home’s exterior makes a strong modern impression, clad in large sheets of concrete fiberboard, with aluminum between the panels to accentuate the joints. Kim Palmer, Star Tribune, "They found an empty lot facing the Mississippi River and built a modern dream home," 4 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accentuate

Time Traveler for accentuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of accentuate was circa 1719

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about accentuate

Statistics for accentuate

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Accentuate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!