Definition of emergent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈməːdʒ(ə)nt/


1In the process of coming into being or becoming prominent: the emergent democracies of eastern Europe
More example sentences
  • During this process, emergent themes were identified.
  • It is consistent with qualitative research methods that the focus of the study may be further shaped in process by the emergent findings.
  • Feather morphology is an emergent feature of these processes, plus the assembly mechanism inherent in the follicle.
1.1 Philosophy (Of a property) arising as an effect of complex causes and not analysable simply as the sum of their effects.
Example sentences
  • Thus, from the beginning, Collins is arguing that consciousness is an emergent property, i.e. a property had by the whole, but not by the parts that compose that whole.
  • As he notes, on this construal, emergent properties will include both relational and non-relational properties.
  • Since no single activity is responsible for undesired emergent properties of complex systems, such problems are intractable to our pluralistic political processes.
2 Ecology Of or denoting a plant which is taller than the surrounding vegetation, especially a tall tree in a forest.
Example sentences
  • In summer, nesting habitat is small wetlands with emergent vegetation in boreal forests and parklands.
  • The forest canopy is largely open, with few emergent trees.
  • The more mature forest reached a canopy height of 25-30 m, with emergent trees to 40 m.
2.1Of or denoting a water plant with leaves and flowers that appear above the water surface.
Example sentences
  • On the other hand, newly hatched ducklings are very dependent on emerging insects encountered on the water surface or on emergent plants, availability of which may be weather dependent.
  • Lowering the water levels in spring stimulated emergent vegetation and raising levels in late summer maintained waterfowl feeding areas.
  • Together, the male and female Western Grebe build a floating nest made of heaps of plant material anchored to emergent vegetation in a shallow area of a marsh.


1 Philosophy An emergent property: knowledge is an emergent of this interactive process
More example sentences
  • The memories are not of ongoing conditions but of emergents of new conditions willed by the Initiator against the circumstances over which Israel has no control.
2 Ecology An emergent tree or other plant: emergents tower above the top canopy
More example sentences
  • This community was dominated by the emergents Polygonum hydropiperoides, Lindernia dubia, Penthorum sedoides, Ludwigia palustris, Echinochloa muricata var. muricata, Scirpus validus, Juncus effusus, and Eleocharis smallii.
  • Most vegetation occurs as emergents, or hydrophilic species along the river's edge.
  • The occurrence of radial increases in B. papyrifera and P. strobus, which are often canopy emergents, suggests that it is overall adaptive strategy that is important rather than position (canopy vs. subcanopy) of any individual tree.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'occurring unexpectedly'): from Latin emergent- 'arising from', from the verb emergere (see emerge).

Words that rhyme with emergent

convergent, detergent, divergent, insurgent, resurgent, urgent

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: emer|gent

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