Synonyms of emergency

a time or state of affairs requiring prompt or decisive action
  • an alert, quick-thinking girl who is good to have around in an emergency

Synonyms for emergency

Words Related to emergency

Phrases Synonymous with emergency

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About emergency

How does the noun emergency differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of emergency are contingency, crisis, exigency, juncture, pinch, straits, and strait. While all these words mean "a critical or crucial time or state of affairs," emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster.

the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies

When is contingency a more appropriate choice than emergency?

The words contingency and emergency can be used in similar contexts, but contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence.

contingency plans

When is it sensible to use crisis instead of emergency?

The synonyms crisis and emergency are sometimes interchangeable, but crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference.

a crisis of confidence

Where would exigency be a reasonable alternative to emergency?

In some situations, the words exigency and emergency are roughly equivalent. However, exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation.

provide for exigencies

When would juncture be a good substitute for emergency?

The meanings of juncture and emergency largely overlap; however, juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events.

an important juncture in our country's history

How is pinch related to other words for emergency?

Pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency.

come through in a pinch

How are the words strait and straits related as synonyms of emergency?

Strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult.

in dire straits

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emergency

Time Traveler for emergency

Time Traveler

The first known use of emergency was circa 1631

See more words from the same year

Statistics for emergency

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emergency.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on emergency

Dictionary: Definition of emergency

Medical Dictionary: Definition of emergency

Spanish Central: Translation of emergency

Nglish: Translation of emergency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emergency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on emergency

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!