ur·​gen·​cy | \ ˈər-jən(t)-sē How to pronounce urgency (audio) \
plural urgencies

Definition of urgency

1 : the quality or state of being urgent : insistence
2 : a force or impulse that impels or constrains : urge

Examples of urgency in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Patients typically experience symptoms resembling those of a urinary tract infection, minus the actual infection: the burning, the urgency, the constant need to pee, the overall pelvic pain and discomfort. Simone Gorrindo, The Cut, "Living With a Disease That Feels Like a Never-ending UTI," 3 July 2018 Driven by a peacemaker’s passion and righteous urgency, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy emerges as a red-hot rebel in a Roy Lichtenstein pop art print. Alice George, Smithsonian, "On the Eve of his Death, Robert Kennedy Was a Whirlwind of Empathy and Internal Strife," 7 June 2018 His effort has an existential urgency, because Abu Dhabi—like Saudi Arabia—offers something the world apparently has too much of: oil. Bloomberg.com, "A Mideast Energy Giant Seizes New Energy Future," 10 May 2018 There was little sense of urgency, no sense of high stakes. Marcus Overton, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego Symphony blazes through Shostakovich as Jahja Ling debuts as Conductor Laureate," 21 Apr. 2018 But there was a new, subdued urgency to those opening seconds. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "With NEXT update, No Man’s Sky finally brings it all together," 6 Aug. 2018 Nevertheless, there is a new urgency to reform these days. The Economist, "Britain’s ambitious apprenticeship reforms are in trouble," 19 Apr. 2018 The subject took on greater urgency amid the AIDS epidemic, which claimed the life of one of Warhol’s boyfriends. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Warhol Takes New York, Again," 26 Oct. 2018 Centineo’s rise to fame is a kind of case study in the appeal of the wholesome internet boyfriend, and why this archetype has taken on a particular urgency here in the draining final months of 2018. Constance Grady, Vox, "Noah Centineo and the rise of the wholesome internet boyfriend, explained," 28 Sep. 2018

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

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near urgency


urge incontinence




urgent care

urge on

Statistics for urgency

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for urgency

The first known use of urgency was in 1540

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More Definitions for urgency


ur·​gen·​cy | \ ˈər-jən-sē How to pronounce urgency (audio) \

Kids Definition of urgency

: the quality or state of requiring immediate action or attention “Let's get out of here!” he said with a sense of urgency.


ur·​gen·​cy | \ ˈər-jən-sē How to pronounce urgency (audio) \
plural urgencies

Medical Definition of urgency

: a sudden compelling need to urinate or defecate

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More from Merriam-Webster on urgency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for urgency

Spanish Central: Translation of urgency

Nglish: Translation of urgency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of urgency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on urgency

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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