Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[em-fuh-sis] /ˈɛm fə sɪs/
noun, plural emphases
[em-fuh-seez] /ˈɛm fəˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
special stress laid upon, or importance attached to, anything:
The president's statement gave emphasis to the budgetary crisis.
something that is given great stress or importance:
Morality was the emphasis of his speech.
  1. special and significant stress of voice laid on particular words or syllables.
  2. stress laid on particular words, by means of position, repetition, or other indication.
intensity or force of expression, action, etc.:
Determination lent emphasis to his proposals.
prominence, as of form or outline:
The background detracts from the emphasis of the figure.
Electronics. preemphasis.
Origin of emphasis
1565-75; < Latin < Greek émphasis indication, equivalent to em- em-2 + phásis phasis
Related forms
misemphasis, noun, plural misemphases.
reemphasis, noun, plural reemphases.
superemphasis, noun, plural superemphases. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for emphasis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was profound conviction in the emphasis with which she spoke her warning.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • In the man's emphasis the girl realized at last the inefficacy of her efforts to combat his will.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • She was only remarkable in this, for the force and emphasis with which she did it.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • He spoke it with emphasis, and struck his stick on the floor.

  • "Oh, no—that I am not," said the boy, with a very expressive smile and emphasis.

British Dictionary definitions for emphasis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
special importance or significance
an object, idea, etc, that is given special importance or significance
stress made to fall on a particular syllable, word, or phrase in speaking
force or intensity of expression: he spoke with special emphasis on the subject of civil rights
sharpness or clarity of form or outline: the sunlight gave emphasis to the shape of the mountain
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek: meaning, (in rhetoric) significant stress; see emphatic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for emphasis

1570s, from Latin emphasis, from Greek emphasis "significance, indirect meaning," from emphainein "to present, show, indicate," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + phainein "to show" (see phantasm). In Greek and Latin, it developed a sense of "extra stress" given to a word or phrase in speech as a clue that it implies something more than literal meaning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for emphasis

Word Value for emphasis

Scrabble Words With Friends