Definition of emergency in English:


Line breaks: emer|gency
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 exit
    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.
  • 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).

More definitions of emergency

Definition of emergency in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody