Definition of emphasis in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈemfəsəs/

noun (plural emphases /-ˌsēz/)

1Special importance, value, or prominence given to something: they placed great emphasis on the individual’s freedom 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, value;
stress, weight, accent, attention, priority, preeminence, urgency, force
1.1Stress laid on a word or words to indicate special meaning or particular importance.
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, prominence;
Prosody  ictus
1.2Vigor 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'.

Words that rhyme with emphasis


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: em·pha·sis

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