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

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since a series of major terrorist attacks in 2015. Rachael Bunyan, Time, "Tunisia's Presidential Election 2019: Who's Running, What's at Stake," 13 Sep. 2019 Small labs don’t have diverse groups of specialists, emergency departments or sophisticated equipment that hospitals need in order to care for very sick patients day and night. Julie Washington, cleveland.com, "Independent labs may be less expensive, but are they the best option for you?," 8 Sep. 2019 Eldest daughter Evanmichel was a nurse working in the emergency department of Quality Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Stockton. Caitlin Keating, PEOPLE.com, "Nationwide Heartbreak: Remembering the 34 Victims of the California Boat Fire," 8 Sep. 2019 She was taken to Quincy Medical Center emergency department with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Quincy police said in a Facebook post Thursday. Maria Lovato, BostonGlobe.com, "Woman seriously injured in dog attack in Quincy," 5 Sep. 2019 During the investigation, Dunne was found to be working in the emergency department when the assault took place. Elaine Ingalls, The Mercury News, "Santa Cruz hospital nursing assistant suspected of sexually assaulting a female patient," 4 Sep. 2019 Its two free-standing emergency departments in Palm Beach Gardens and Boynton Beach are also closed. Brooke Baitinger, sun-sentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian forces some Palm Beach County hospitals to close," 3 Sep. 2019 Virginia joined four other states overnight in declaring a state of emergency. CBS News, "Devastating images show Hurricane Dorian ravaging the Bahamas," 3 Sep. 2019 Sara Gonzalez, 37, a pediatrician in Dartmouth, Mass., works as a hospitalist and in the emergency department, another shift job. New York Times, "How Medicine Became the Stealth Family-Friendly Profession," 23 Aug. 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

18 Sep 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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