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

Along with Florida, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania also declared a public health emergency regarding hepatitis A Thursday. Sara Marino, USA TODAY, "Florida health officials declare public health emergency for hepatitis A," 3 Aug. 2019 In early April, the council voted to declare a climate emergency. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "Secondary burns: Chico, Calif., is in tumult after a fire emptied out neighboring Paradise," 3 Aug. 2019 Philadelphia also declared an emergency Thursday, and Mississippi announced an outbreak in their state earlier last week. SFChronicle.com, "News of the day from across the nation, Aug. 4," 3 Aug. 2019 Our officer was on scene trying to find an individual who may be suffering from a medical emergency. CBS News, "Body cam video shows Texas officer shooting at dog but accidentally killing woman," 3 Aug. 2019 When one is chief, the phone can ring at any time, day or night, with an emergency that must be handled. cleveland.com, "New Lyndhurst Police Chief Rhode, a South Euclid native, started career as a teacher," 2 Aug. 2019 Mayor Ethan Berkowitz declared a civil emergency last week because of the cuts, particularly those to homeless services, which are projected to cause between 800 to 1000 people to lose shelter over the next year. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Providers say low-income children, families in Alaska will bear disproportionate weight of Dunleavy budget vetoes," 31 July 2019 When two American politicians are assassinated by the Russian mafia, the sitting U.S. president whips out a supersecret codicil to the U.S. Constitution authorizing him to ignore federal law in an emergency. Bruce Desilva, Dallas News, "'The Russian' by Ben Coes is a preposterous thriller," 30 July 2019 The method allows government agencies, aid groups, and those vulnerable to extreme weather events to prepare for disaster in advance and ensures that all parties can be more organized ahead of and during an emergency. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Is forecast-based financing the future of aid in the face of climate change?," 28 July 2019

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

7 Aug 2019

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 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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