emergency

noun, often attributive
emer·​gen·​cy | \ i-ˈmər-jən(t)-sē How to pronounce emergency (audio) \
plural emergencies

Definition of emergency

1 : an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
2 : an urgent need for assistance or relief the mayor declared a state of emergency after the flood

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Choose the Right Synonym for emergency

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait (or straits) crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events. an important juncture in our country's history exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation. provide for exigencies emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster. the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence. contingency plans pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency. come through in a pinch strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult. in dire straits crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference. a crisis of confidence

Examples of emergency in a Sentence

Her quick thinking in an emergency saved the baby's life. an alert, quick-thinking girl who is good to have around in an emergency
Recent Examples on the Web The period of emergency has not yet been concluded. cleveland, "Mayfield Village takes a step to preserve its tree canopy," 24 May 2020 And some lawmakers wanted to vote to end the current state of emergency, arguing Gov. Doug Ducey had gone too far with his stay-at-home order, which ended in mid-May. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Arizona Senate will return to Capitol on Tuesday; fate of coronavirus liability measure unclear," 22 May 2020 Japan enacted a state of emergency starting in early April, yet measures like closing non-essential businesses were more recommendations than enforceable policy. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "China’s Xi Jinping tightens his grip," 22 May 2020 That act requires the legislature to approve an extension to a state of emergency after 28 days. Jack Turman, CBS News, "Michigan court upholds Whitmer's power to extend stay-at-home order," 22 May 2020 And in Maryland, the bar on eviction was due to be lifted once the governor declared an end to the coronavirus state of emergency. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "Rent Is Still Due in Kushnerville," 21 May 2020 In practice, despite gestures in their direction, they are largely excluded from emergency income-support measures. The Economist, "The world after covid-19 Guy Standing on how lockdowns make the case for a basic income," 20 May 2020 If they are paid at all, most workers make between $0.14 and $1.50 per hour, and no laws or FEMA guidelines require those rates increase in times of emergency. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Covid-19's Toll on Prison Labor Doesn't Just Hurt Inmates," 19 May 2020 Most office solutions are prototypes, loose sketches that never would have been so quickly implemented in the absence of an emergency. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "We’re about to re-enter an office full of half-baked design prototypes," 19 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emergency.' 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 emergency

circa 1631, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for emergency

Time Traveler

The first known use of emergency was circa 1631

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Statistics for emergency

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emergency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emergency. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for emergency

emergency

noun
How to pronounce emergency (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of emergency

: an unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action

emergency

noun
emer·​gen·​cy | \ i-ˈmər-jən-sē How to pronounce emergency (audio) \
plural emergencies

Kids Definition of emergency

: an unexpected situation that requires immediate action a medical emergency

emergency

noun
emer·​gen·​cy | \ i-ˈmər-jən-sē How to pronounce emergency (audio) \
plural emergencies

Medical Definition of emergency

: an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action: as
a : a sudden bodily alteration (as a ruptured appendix or surgical shock) such as is likely to require immediate medical attention
b : a usually distressing event or condition that can often be anticipated or prepared for but seldom exactly foreseen

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emergency

noun
emer·​gen·​cy
plural emergencies

Legal Definition of emergency

1 : an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
2 : an urgent need for assistance or relief a state of emergency

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Comments on emergency

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