Definition of emphasis in English:


Line breaks: em|phasis
Pronunciation: /ˈɛmfəsɪs

noun (plural emphases /-siːz/)

[mass noun]
  • 1Special importance, value, or prominence given to something: they placed great emphasis on the individual’s freedom [count noun]: different emphases and viewpoints
    More example sentences
    • Other than that, however, today's two stories have very different emphases.
    • It is difficult to assign priority to the problems since each centre's emphases and interests are different.
    • All of the essays repeat this same cluster of ideas, developing their implications with different emphases and nuances.
    prominence, importance, significance; stress, weight, attention, priority, urgency, force, forcibleness, insistence, underlining, underscoring, intensity; import, power, moment, mark, pre-eminence
  • 2Stress given to a word or words when speaking to indicate particular importance: inflection and emphasis can change the meaning of what is said
    More example sentences
    • Kylie repeated her words with special emphasis, as if talking to a very slow person.
    • His emphasis on the word protector made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
    • I put plenty of emphasis on the word to make sure he understood what I was trying to say.
    stress, accent, accentuation, weight, force, prominence; beat; Prosody ictus
  • 2.1Vigour or intensity of expression: he spoke with emphasis and with complete conviction
    More example sentences
    • He leaned forward in his chair again to give his words more emphasis.
    • Bob manages to make very obvious things sound like genius by stressing his words and using his arms for emphasis.


late 16th century: via Latin from Greek, originally 'appearance, show', later denoting a figure of speech in which more is implied than is said (the original sense in English), from emphainein 'exhibit', from em- 'in, within' + phainein 'to show'.

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