emer·​gent | \i-ˈmər-jənt \

Definition of emergent 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : arising unexpectedly

b : calling for prompt action : urgent emergent danger

2a : rising out of or as if out of a fluid emergent coastal islands

b : rooted in shallow water and having most of its vegetative growth above water an emergent plant

3 : arising as a natural or logical consequence

4 : newly formed or prominent emergent nations



Definition of emergent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something emergent

2a : a tree that rises above the surrounding forest

b : an emergent plant

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Examples of emergent in a Sentence


since it was not seen as an emergent problem, it was continually put off

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Wall Street investors are enamored with a newly emergent tech company. Matt O'brien, The Seattle Times, "Apple’s stock sours, Microsoft’s soars. Say what?!," 27 Nov. 2018 Their utility suggested a sense of busyness and ambition well suited to a new age in which emergent technologies were changing everything. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "The High Price of Being Kate Spade," 7 June 2018 Which means that for most Californians the race for governor is just starting, as the first widely broadcast commercials — emergent like the first shoots of spring, but much less lovely — begin to fill the airwaves. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Been ignoring the race for California governor? That's OK, in some ways it's just starting," 26 Apr. 2018 But in taking that stance for his own support base, AMLO might find a historic opportunity: building bridges with Mexico’s southern neighbors, and perhaps also emergent powers such as China. Time, "Mexico's New President AMLO and Donald Trump Have Promised Mutual 'Respect.' How Long Can That Last?," 3 July 2018 In the early 1990s, horticultural researchers at Iowa State University discovered the pre-emergent capability of this product of the corn wet-milling process, and the university began to obtain patents on CGM. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Corn processing byproduct halts crabgrass, and adds nutrients to the soil | Idaho Statesman," 28 Feb. 2018 Regular legislative review: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act stipulated that the Library of Congress revisit the law’s exceptions every two years, to account for changing technologies and emergent needs. Tarleton Gillespie, WIRED, "How Social Networks Set the Limits of What We Can Say Online," 26 June 2018 If the weeds grow from seeds, almost all pre-emergent products are labeled for use on liriope. Walter Reeves, ajc, "Orchid needs correct light to bloom," 20 June 2018 When quizzed, British politicians have frequently invoked notions of new and emergent digital technologies, which will somehow permit business as usual in Brexit’s brave new world. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

By then the pre-emergent will be gone from the soil. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "No garden invader is more difficult to eliminate than bamboo," 15 June 2018 Apply a pre-emergent, like Preen, around the bushes to keep down the weeds until mulch is reapplied in late May. Hot temperatures will require a regular watering program and Kentucky rain is never enough. Janet Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Roses are easy - if done right. Here are foolproof tips to follow for your Kentucky garden," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emergent.' 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 emergent


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emergent


Middle English, from Latin emergent-, emergens, present participle of emergere

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Statistics for emergent

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emergent

The first known use of emergent was in 1593

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More Definitions for emergent


emer·​gent | \i-ˈmər-jənt \

Medical Definition of emergent 

: calling for prompt or urgent action an emergent condition in a hemophiliac

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More from Merriam-Webster on emergent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with emergent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for emergent

Spanish Central: Translation of emergent

Nglish: Translation of emergent for Spanish Speakers

Comments on emergent

What made you want to look up emergent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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