emer·​gent | \ i-ˈmər-jənt How to pronounce emergent (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Yes, in-game menus hint at this being a possibility, but plenty of cops will show up either in specific campaign missions or emergent run-from-the-cops moments in the other open-world content. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Watch Dogs Legion gameplay premiere: Taking the “N” out of “NPC”," 10 June 2019 Fallout goes a different direction, framing play around a wonderful emergent narrative. Charles Theel, Ars Technica, "Fallout: The Board Game," 13 Jan. 2018 The questions about applying pre-emergent weedkillers started before Christmas lights were back in the box. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Spring lawn care starts now, so don't delay, or you'll be in the weeds in no time | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 21 Feb. 2018 Step 3 - Thwart Weed Growth To prevent weeds from taking over your lawn this summer, apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Your Lawn Ready for Spring," 22 Jan. 2019 An emergent trend back then was that certain file names, no matter their file extensions and no matter their location on a system, would always refer to certain things. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Modern-Day Computer Bug Dates Back to 1974," 5 Nov. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emergent

Statistics for emergent

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emergent

The first known use of emergent was in 1593

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for emergent


emer·​gent | \ i-ˈmər-jənt How to pronounce emergent (audio) \

Medical Definition of emergent

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!