- a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action.
- a state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event: a weather emergency; a financial emergency.
- granted, used, or for use in an emergency: an emergency leave; emergency lights.
Origin of emergency
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. exigency, extremity, pinch, quandary, plight. Emergency, crisis, straits refer to dangerous situations. An emergency is a situation demanding immediate action: A power failure created an emergency in transportation. A crisis is a vital or decisive turning point in a condition or state of affairs, and everything depends on the outcome of it: Help arrived when affairs had reached a crisis. Strait (usually straits ) suggests a pressing situation, often one of need or want: The family was in desperate straits for food and clothing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for non-emergency
This shelter can be used as a storage room or for other useful purposes in non-emergency periods.In Time Of Emergency
Department of Defense
- an unforeseen or sudden occurrence, esp of a danger demanding immediate remedy or action
- (as modifier)an emergency exit
- a patient requiring urgent treatment
- (as modifier)an emergency ward
- state of emergency a condition, declared by a government, in which martial law applies, usually because of civil unrest or natural disaster
- NZ a player selected to stand by to replace an injured member of a team; reserve
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
Word Origin and History for non-emergency
"unforeseen occurrence requiring immediate attention," 1630s, from Latin emergens, present participle of emergere (see emerge). Or from emerge + -ency.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper