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

His letters were filled with amusing stories accentuating his wonderful sense of humor; always ending with encouragement and inspirational advice., "Richard L. Pilon," 29 June 2018 But instead, the President's party is trying to grapple with the North Korean reality, accentuating Trump's gesture as one of the only ways the US can tame a nuclear-armed enemy. CNN, "Republicans in Congress caution Trump against trusting North Korea," 12 June 2018 Some television presenters donned gas masks for their standups, accentuating Leilani's vulnerability. Author: Simon Romero, Anchorage Daily News, "Another Kilauea eruption shatters the quiet in a Hawaii 'ghost town'," 18 May 2018 Not only does opinion about the science break down along ideological lines, but knowledge of science seems to make matters worse, accentuating the partisan divide. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Interest in science, not ability, builds trust in climate science," 24 Apr. 2018 With a chandelier overhead tilted in one direction and the Kit Kat Klub sign canted in the other, the ominous set design by Janie E. Howland accentuates a sense of dislocation and a world knocked askew. Don Aucoin,, "Doherty shines brightest in Moonbox’s compelling ‘Cabaret’," 17 Apr. 2018 Makeup artist Daniel Martin, the creative consultant for Honest Beauty, Dior Beauty brand ambassador and a longtime friend of Meghan’s, created her makeup look, which used minimal foundation to accentuate the Suits actress’s gorgeous freckles. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Meghan Markle Embraced Her Favorite Feature on Her Royal Wedding Day: Her Freckles!," 19 May 2018 Marking stairs and cabinet doors with bright-colored tape can also help accentuate edges. Kaya Laterman, New York Times, "Simple Home Improvements for the Vision Impaired," 13 Apr. 2018 Clad in a gorgeous floral dress that beautifully accentuated her baby bump, Cardi dove into the track alongside her fiancé. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Cardi B Joins Offset Onstage For 'MotorSport' Performance: Watch," 17 June 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

10 Nov 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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full of whispering sounds

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