em·​pha·​sis | \ ˈem(p)-fə-səs How to pronounce emphasis (audio) \
plural emphases\ ˈem(p)-​fə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce emphasis (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 While investors with shorter time horizons were undoubtedly burned, those who kept pumping money into the industry look increasingly well positioned as countries, companies and Wall Street place new emphasis on fighting the climate crisis. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "When a market bubble isn't the end of the story," 4 May 2021 Our true point of difference is our emphasis on the customer experience. Rachel King, Fortune, "The new moving company that wants to bring a more human touch to a staid industry," 2 May 2021 The infrastructure plan — with its emphasis on moving semiconductor manufacturing back to the United States and focusing on 5G networks, artificial intelligence, and advanced robotics — is the modern-day space race. BostonGlobe.com, "Biden calls for US to enter a new superpower struggle," 29 Apr. 2021 Now, any developments working with the Housing Trust need to have written selection policies and grievance procedures, protect tenants from income discrimination, and place less emphasis on an applicant’s past evictions. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio seeks to float bonds for affordable housing," 25 Apr. 2021 President Biden announced his first batch of judicial nominees Tuesday, using his early choices to place an emphasis on bringing more racial and professional diversity to the federal courts. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Biden Underscores Diversity With First Judicial Nominees," 30 Mar. 2021 That, of course, signaled that the defense must be planning to place great emphasis on it. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Prosecutor: Chauvin ‘Wouldn’t Let Up and Wouldn’t Get Up’ as George Floyd Slowly Died," 30 Mar. 2021 Other features coming soon to Google Maps: • Google will place more emphasis on eco-friendly routes. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Do you get lost at the airport or the mall? Google Maps will help you find your way," 30 Mar. 2021 Shanahan suggested after the season that the 49ers’ inordinate attrition would prompt them to place a greater emphasis on durability when evaluating players. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers free agency analysis: Team sees pieces in place for Super Bowl run, with a big 'if'," 20 Mar. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emphasis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emphasis. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for emphasis



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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Comments on emphasis

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