em·​pha·​sis | \ ˈem(p)-fə-səs How to pronounce emphasis (audio) \
plural emphases\ ˈem(p)-​fə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce emphases (audio) \

Definition of emphasis

1a : force or intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to something
b : a particular prominence given in reading or speaking to one or more words or syllables
2 : special consideration of or stress or insistence on something

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Synonyms & Antonyms for emphasis



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Examples of emphasis in a Sentence

Our candidate's plan has a different emphasis. a prep school with a long-established emphasis on sports
Recent Examples on the Web Because other players have started mirroring Harry’s online business, Harry’s and its Flamingo line could distinguish themselves with more emphasis on body care and other shaving products. Gerald Porter Jr., Bloomberg.com, "Men’s Shaving Upstart Harry’s Goes From Web to Walgreens," 7 May 2020 User @tiffanyabbigailebeauty put her Easter egg nail design on a lengthy gel base with major emphasis on those sporadic black speckles. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Easter Egg Nail Art Is Still Trending, and It's Wildly Easy to Copy at Home," 15 Apr. 2020 This spot is about chasing the value, with the odds putting too heavy of an emphasis on the Sixers’ active losing streak. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Philadelphia 76ers at Houston Rockets odds, picks and best bets," 3 Jan. 2020 Nodding for emphasis after calling his father his friend, Jordan tries holding back tears by blinking quickly. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "‘The Last Dance’: The 23 most fascinating takeaways from Episodes 7 and 8," 10 May 2020 The entrepreneurs say their emphasis on the social benefit of creating jobs for people with disabilities, rather than lecturing about the environment, is the key to their success. Nusmila Lohani, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Austria shuts down last coal-fired plant, and more," 8 May 2020 Another group known for its emphasis on camps and other outdoor activity is Boy Scouts of America. Lawrence Specker | Lspecker@al.com, al, "Can summer camps open in 2020? Decision looms in Alabama," 24 Apr. 2020 Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reelected in a landslide victory last year, many Indian Muslims say his emphasis on empowering India's Hindu majority has left them feeling like second-class citizens in their own country. Helen Regan, CNN, "India's Muslims feel targeted by rumors they're spreading Covid-19," 23 Apr. 2020 Plus, my earliest squadmates had watched enough Valorant gameplay streams to appreciate its emphasis on quick-reaction voice chat. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Valorant makes you watch before you play—that’ll change online games forever," 13 Apr. 2020

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

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for emphasis

Latin, from Greek, exposition, emphasis, from emphainein to indicate, from en- + phainein to show — more at fancy

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Time Traveler for emphasis

Time Traveler

The first known use of emphasis was in 1534

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Statistics for emphasis

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emphasis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emphasis. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for emphasis


How to pronounce emphasis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of emphasis

: a forceful quality in the way something is said or written
: added force that is given to a word or syllable when speaking
: special importance or attention given to something


em·​pha·​sis | \ ˈem-fə-səs How to pronounce emphasis (audio) \
plural emphases\ -​ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of emphasis

1 : a forcefulness in the way something is said or written that gives it special attention or importance
2 : special force given to one or more words or syllables in speaking or reading In the word "vacation," the emphasis is on the second syllable.
3 : special attention or importance given to something

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