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 Iowa remains under a public health emergency declared by Reynolds on March 17. David Pitt, Star Tribune, "Trump rally comes to Iowa as virus hospitalizations climb," 13 Oct. 2020 Three people had sued to challenge the governor's authority to issue the order declaring a public health emergency. Omar Jimenez, CNN, "Wisconsin judge upholds mask mandate as coronavirus cases surge," 12 Oct. 2020 Oats suffered a non-COVID-19 related medical emergency this summer. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Mark Stoops delivers game ball from Kentucky football's first win to Chris Oats," 12 Oct. 2020 The state Legislature filed a brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the governor’s order issued under a public health emergency. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Health care and business organizations form coalition to encourage people to wear masks and take other precautions," 10 Oct. 2020 The group did not deny the existence of the virus, but sided more with ending the economic devastation than preventing a public health emergency. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, "Group that pushed Arizona to reopen businesses shifts to start supporting Republican candidates," 10 Oct. 2020 The closure of the Senior Center during the Coronavirus public health emergency has made that task more challenging, but has not stopped the Senior Center from achieving its mission. courant.com, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 9 Oct. 2020 For another, the president and others have many means of speaking to the public – from press releases to media organizations to interrupting broadcast communications in the middle of a national emergency. Mike Ananny, Wired, "Put Trump's Tweets on a Time Delay," 9 Oct. 2020 Also, a time-sensitive emergency because the hair can cut off circulation and even cut through the skin. Alicia Delgallo, orlandosentinel.com, "Hair tourniquet ties up baby’s toes, parents' nerves," 9 Oct. 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

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emergency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emergency. Accessed 28 Oct. 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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