Definition of emergency in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈməːdʒ(ə)nsi/

noun (plural emergencies)

1A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action: personal alarms for use in an emergency [mass noun]: survival packs were carried in case of emergency
More example sentences
  • Currently there are no universal guidelines for handling in-flight medical emergencies.
  • The policy statement introduces a public health initiative to help schools prepare to handle life-threatening medical emergencies.
  • If they declare a public health emergency, governments can skip the negotiating.
crisis, urgent situation, extremity, exigency;
accident, disaster, catastrophe, calamity;
difficulty, plight, predicament, tight spot, tight corner, mess;
quandary, dilemma;
unforeseen circumstances, dire/desperate straits, danger
informal scrape, jam, fix, pickle, spot, hole, hot water, crunch, panic stations
1.1 [as modifier] Arising from or used in an emergency: an emergency operation to save his sight around 1 in 8 adults have no savings at all, not even an emergency fund
More example sentences
  • The team carried out emergency operations day and night by torchlight.
  • It said emergency exits were blocked, floors were dirty and there were no female toilets.
  • Bad as this staircase was, the two other emergency exits were worse, McIntyre later said.
urgent, crisis;
impromptu, extraordinary
alternative, substitute, replacement, spare, extra, standby, auxiliary, reserve, backup, fill-in, fallback, in reserve
1.2A person with a medical condition requiring immediate treatment: the hospital treated two hundred emergencies
More example sentences
  • The 69% remaining were most commonly patients admitted as medical or surgical emergencies.
  • First medical and surgical emergencies were referred directly to the acute care firms and were seen initially by house officers.
1.3North American The department in a hospital which provides immediate treatment: a doctor in emergency cleaned the wound
2 (the Emergency) Irish historical The Second World War.
3Australian /NZ A reserve runner in horse racing.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin emergentia, from Latin emergere 'arise, bring to light' (see emerge).

Words that rhyme with emergency

convergency, insurgency, urgency
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