emergency

noun, often attributive
emer·gen·cy | \ i-ˈmər-jən(t)-sē \
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

But Lyles could push for a backup role, or could be an emergency option in the G League in case of injury. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "UMBC star Jairus Lyles ready to compete for Jazz roster spot after signing two-way deal," 14 July 2018 But the judge left open the possibility of emergency filings over the weekend to address the issue if necessary. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Trump administration outlines plan to reunify remaining 2,500 separated children," 14 July 2018 The owl was found stuck in the net in the 400 block of Sandy Valley Road around 11:47 a.m., Westwood emergency dispatcher Mary LaFleur said. Adam Sennott, BostonGlobe.com, "Westwood police rescue owl caught in hockey net," 14 July 2018 The Natural Hazards Center is a repository of sorts for research and best practices in the realm of emergencies and disaster. Jason Pohl, azcentral, "Fires, floods, hurricanes: Disaster experts weigh ‘new normal’," 14 July 2018 Tony Rocha will line up on the wing after being used as an emergency centerback a few times this season. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik benched, lineup changes for Lions," 14 July 2018 In New Jersey, according to the state Board of Public Utilities rules, residential service cannot be shut off on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays; holidays or the day before; or if there is a medical emergency in the household. New York Times, "‘Totally Preventable’: How a Sick Woman Lost Electricity, and Her Life," 13 July 2018 Sinnott’s law would implement a universal sign system for people with mobility issues, with emergency placards affixed near their front doors. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "Regret haunts Wine Country fire hero: ‘I’ve never cried this much’," 13 July 2018 Fortune Vaping Pilot On Tuesday, an Air China flight suddenly started an emergency descent, with oxygen masks released to terrified passengers. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Trump Diplomacy, Wilbur Ross, China Surplus: CEO Daily for July 13, 2018," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for emergency

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emergency

The first known use of emergency was circa 1631

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More Definitions for emergency

emergency

noun

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 \
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 \
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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