Definition of accent in English:

accent

Line breaks: ac¦cent

noun

Pronunciation: /ˈaks(ə)nt
 
, -sɛnt/
1A distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class: a strong American accent she never mastered the French accent
More example sentences
  • The whole country was a mixture of different languages and accents back then, especially in the rural areas.
  • And is there anywhere in the world with a greater diversity of accents than London?
  • And a beautiful thing, for me, was that most spoke with foreign accents and in foreign languages.
Synonyms
pronunciation, intonation, enunciation, elocution, articulation, inflection, tone, modulation, cadence, timbre, utterance, manner of speaking, speech pattern, speech, diction, delivery; brogue, burr, drawl, twang
rare orthoepy
2A distinct emphasis given to a syllable or word in speech by stress or pitch: the accent falls on the middle syllable
More example sentences
  • In all but parts of eastern Slovakia, the stress is on the first syllable of a word; longer words (three or more syllables) have secondary accents.
  • Mania, they were told, is simply the Italian translation of the word obsession, and anyway it's pronounced with the accent on the second syllable.
  • In Samoan words all syllables are given equal timing with a slight accent placed on the penultimate syllable.
Synonyms
stress, emphasis, accentuation, force, prominence; primary stress, secondary stress; beat, rhythm, pulse
technical tone, ictus
2.1A mark on a letter, typically a vowel, to indicate pitch, stress, or vowel quality: a circumflex accent
More example sentences
  • The accents and other diacritical marks we now use to write ancient Greek are comparatively late inventions.
  • FYI - I had to leave out some of the accent marks on some of the Spanish words.
  • It's a neat trick to have a way to spell words containing both nasalization and crucially important tone without any accents or funny letters.
Synonyms
mark, diacritic, diacritical mark, accent mark, sign
2.2 Music An emphasis on a particular note or chord: short fortissimo accents
More example sentences
  • Rachmaninoff indicates that the tenor carries the melody by placing accents over each of its notes.
  • Or consider the college piano student, carefully groomed to taper each Mozartean phrase just so, and deliver sharp accents in Bartok.
  • Moravec takes the opening of the first in a way that connects with Bartók's piano dances, with shifting accents.
3 [in singular] A special or particular emphasis: the accent is on participation
More example sentences
  • Though there are sections on Welsh and Greek, the accent is on French, German, Spanish and Italian, each of which has a 24-lesson course attached.
  • The accent is on natural materials - wood and stone.
  • The accent is on making learning an enjoyable experience. ‘Look, understand, absorb and learn’ is the new mantra.
Synonyms
emphasis, stress, priority; importance, prominence
3.1A feature which gives a distinctive visual emphasis to something: blue woodwork and accents of red
More example sentences
  • If you're using chives as a visual accent, just sprinkle a few over whatever you're accenting.
  • After a tour of five hotels in Lakes towns from Keswick to Coniston his recommendation is to inject a regional accent into the decor to get more guests to the check-in desks.
  • Bright red is a bold accent in clusters of anemones and candy canes.

verb

Pronunciation: /akˈsɛnt
 
/
[with object] Back to top  
1Emphasize (a particular feature): fabrics which accent the background colours in the room
More example sentences
  • His pale features were accented by his ebony hair.
  • Dark hair and even darker eyes accented his pale features and an amused smile touched his thin lips.
  • He had a certain smug look as the setting sun accented his facial features and bathed the luxurious office in shades of red and gold light.
Synonyms
focus attention on, bring/call/draw attention to, point up, underline, underscore, accentuate, highlight, spotlight, foreground, feature, give prominence to, make more prominent, make more noticeable, play up, bring to the fore, heighten, stress, emphasize, put/lay emphasis on
1.1 Music Play (a note or beat) with emphasis: the quick tempo means there is less scope for accenting offbeat notes
More example sentences
  • Double-time blast beats are accented by equally furious ‘breakdowns’ and searing vocals, but it's all done without coming across like it was as butchered as their song subjects.
  • Their drummer seemed to be half asleep because he missed a dozen beats key beats that were supposed to accent the vocals.
  • The strings are used only to accent the melody, and any misgivings are quickly redeemed by yet another amazing guitar solo.

Origin

late Middle English (in the sense 'intonation'): from Latin accentus 'tone, signal, or intensity' (from ad- 'to' + cantus 'song'), translating Greek prosōidia 'a song sung to music, intonation'.

Derivatives

accentual

Pronunciation: /əkˈsɛntjʊəl/
adjective
More example sentences
  • Rap characteristically uses the four-stress, accentual line that has been the most common meter for spoken popular poetry in English from Anglo-Saxon verse and the border ballads to Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling.
  • Each track is regularly cut up into several miniature movements, equally showcasing Buck's immaculate lo-fi production techniques, subtle mixing, accentual scratching, and predominantly soft-spoken emceeing abilities.
  • Arnold also weighed in on the ongoing question of the relative merits of, and relation between, quantitative and accentual hexameter and whether accent itself constituted length comparable to that of classical prosody.

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