Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for emphasis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If the note itself is not new, there must at least be a newness of emphasis and insistence.

  • He agreed to attend, adding his own emphasis to the reason as stated.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • Hyperbole is a natural exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis.

    Public Speaking Clarence Stratton
  • "I do not care much for your emphasis on the 'now,'" she declared, indignantly.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Such a method results not only in added clearness, but also in emphasis.

    Public Speaking Clarence Stratton
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

Difficulty index for emphasis

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for emphasis

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for emphasis