emergency

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

Essential Meaning of emergency

: an unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action Her quick thinking in an emergency saved the baby's life. Here's a phone number where I can be reached in (the event of) an emergency.

Full 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 health pass mandate lasts until the end of the year when Italy’s state of emergency expires, but that has already been extended many times since the start of the pandemic, so the green pass requirement could last well into next year. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 A half-dozen communities declared a state of emergency. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, 15 Oct. 2021 In Payne County, where Stillwater is located, only 35% of the population was fully vaccinated when Novotny became ill in mid-July, and the delta variant was spreading so rapidly that the mayor declared a state of emergency Sept. 3. Annie Gowen, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Oct. 2021 Some analysts have also said that the EU has moved too quickly away from fossil fuels and has not ensured that its members would have an adequate supply of renewable sources in case of an emergency. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Oct. 2021 Every family member should know what to do in this kind of emergency. Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2021 Knowing who is onsite is especially valuable in cases of emergency, such as a natural disaster or criminal activity. James Taylor, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 After requesting that Walgreens give them proof of vaccination so that the family could show medical professionals what they were given in the case of an emergency, the Prices say Walgreens hesitated. Amy Simonson And Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 13 Oct. 2021 And in July 2020, records show, he was charged in Kent County with violating the governor’s COVID-19 state of emergency regulations regarding large gatherings as well as disturbing the peace and failure to comply with a lawful order. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, 13 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near emergency

emergence

emergency

emergency barrage

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Statistics for emergency

Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emergency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emergency. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for emergency

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on emergency

Nglish: Translation of emergency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emergency for Arabic Speakers

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