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

Treatment involves emergency surgery and antifungal medication before the fungus invades the eyes or brain, per the Cleveland Clinic. Amy Marturana, SELF, "What Your Snot Can Tell You About Your Health," 26 Dec. 2018 Kohan, who submitted his bill to our database, ended up needing emergency jaw surgery. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "I read 1,182 emergency room bills this year. Here’s what I learned.," 18 Dec. 2018 Soon after, Grendahl underwent emergency surgery for severe swelling and bleeding in his brain. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Vending-machine dispute leads to a murder charge against Seattle tattoo artist," 28 Nov. 2018 Most of the emergency surgery at Tenneco was done by 1995, and Mr. Mead wanted to go on the offensive, focusing on auto parts, including Monroe shock absorbers, and packaging, with such brands as Hefty bags. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Dana Mead, Retired Army Colonel, Battled to Save Tenneco in the 1990s," 23 Nov. 2018 A few hours later, Merzatta was at the hospital across the street being prepped for emergency surgery. Natalie Lampert, Marie Claire, "Why Women Reeling From Miscarriage Are Turning to the Web," 1 Oct. 2018 The family’s attorney, Neal Pope, says nobody recommended emergency surgery to fix the problem. Fox News, "Georgia jury awards $31M over boy's botched circumcision," 25 Sep. 2018 Zuzo — a 2-year-old who recently returned from an emergency surgery to treat an infection — along with his handler, Seekonk Officer Steven Fundakowski, were requested by Rehoboth police to locate suspects, the release said. Katie Camero, BostonGlobe.com, "Zuzo the police dog returns from sick leave and helps catch 2 Rehoboth burglary suspects," 11 July 2018 That total included the daily expenses of housing and feeding the cats, as well as emergency surgery for some of them. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "A Bucks County couple kept 31 cats in squalor. A new state law is helping prosecute them.," 7 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

9 Jan 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 \
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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