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

Over time, a lot of the insider must-haves in case of an emergency—like the fashion tape and sweat protectors that stylists carry in their kits—have become available to the public, thanks to brands like Hollywood Fashion Secrets. Ana Colón, Glamour, "8 Red Carpet Fashion Hacks Celebrity Stylists Swear By," 18 Jan. 2019 Ella uses a coupon-style model to help users create a rainy-day fund, inspired by founder Lizzie Merrill’s observation that most Americans couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How a Midwest startup generator bursts the Bay Area tech bubble and solves real problems," 12 Dec. 2018 The electricity could then be used during an emergency or a blackout. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "South Australia is fueling energy storage investment," 27 Nov. 2018 One recent patient at the emergency department was unable to speak. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 Saving for the future can seem like a tall order considering that the average American has about $15,000 in credit card debt and doesn’t have the funds to cover a $400 emergency. Ellen Sheng, Marie Claire, "How to Start Investing Money Even If You Don't Have Any," 16 Jan. 2019 Sullenberger's challenge was to find the familiar in the midst of a dire emergency. Allen St. John, Popular Mechanics, "What Went Right: Revisiting Captain "Sully" Sullenberger and the Miracle on the Hudson," 15 Jan. 2019 Basically, should a serious national emergency arise, then the U.S. President (or the person who has had to succeed him or her) can authorize a temporary government to maintain control of the essential functions of the Federal Government. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Meet the new Air Force helicopters that can 'defy Armageddon'," 27 Sep. 2018 The order declares a national emergency, Bolton said, and requires DNI to make regular assessments of activities targeting the US electoral process, reporting findings to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Trump signs order authorizing “automatic” sanctions for election interference [Updated]," 12 Sep. 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

20 Feb 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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