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

Internet service was severed and is only now inching back with the aid of emergency responders. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s not safe anywhere:’ Mozambique cyclone scattered lives," 30 Mar. 2019 There are no warnings about efficacy and weight on the package of the emergency contraception Plan B even though evidence suggests that the morning-after pill might be less effective for heavier women. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "What Shrill Gets Right—and Wrong—About the Morning-After Pill Weight Limit," 15 Mar. 2019 There’s a helicopter pad on the ship in case of emergencies or to satisfy a customer who doesn’t want to wait. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How It Works: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Splashdown and Recovery," 8 Mar. 2019 Trump finally gave in, but only after Mitch promised to support his plan to declare a state of emergency to get the money for that damnable border wall. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: A Whopper-Filled Press Conference," 17 Feb. 2019 But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process. Christopher D. Legras, WSJ, "Vision Zero, a ‘Road Diet’ Fad, Is Proving to Be Deadly," 18 Jan. 2019 The next morning, the girl started experiencing seizures around 6:25 a.m. and had a fever recorded at 105.7 degrees after emergency responders arrived. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "7-Year-Old Jackeline Caal Died in Border Patrol Custody After Migrating From Guatemala," 14 Dec. 2018 In most cases, by the time emergency responders arrive, the victim is already dead and their organs have lost viability for transplant. Ted Alcorn, Vox, "The waiting list for organ transplants is finally shrinking — for a grim reason," 24 Sep. 2018 The man was pronounced dead at Norwood Hospital, where he was taken after emergency responders freed him, Sharon police Deputy Chief Donald Brewer said. Katie Camero, BostonGlobe.com, "Worker dies at metal plant after being freed from industrial machine," 12 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

17 Apr 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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