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[em-fat-ik] /ɛmˈfæt ɪk/
uttered, or to be uttered, with emphasis; strongly expressive.
using emphasis in speech or action.
forceful; insistent:
a big, emphatic man; I must be emphatic about this particular.
very impressive or significant; strongly marked; striking:
the emphatic beauty of sunset.
clearly or boldly outlined:
It stands, like a great, stone dagger, emphatic against the sky.
Grammar. of or relating to a form used to add emphasis, especially, in English, stressed auxiliary do in affirmative statements, as in He did call you or I do like it.
Phonetics. having a secondary velar articulation, as certain dental consonants in Arabic.
an emphatic consonant.
Origin of emphatic
1700-10; < Greek emphatikós indicative, forceful, equivalent to *emphat(ós) (em- em-2 + phatós, variant of phantós visible, equivalent to phan-, stem of phaínesthai to appear + -tos adj. suffix) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
emphatically, adverb
emphaticalness, noun
unemphatic, adjective
unemphatically, adverb
3. positive, energetic, forcible, pronounced, decided, unequivocal, definite.
3. weak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unemphatic
Historical Examples
  • The hour with Geoffrey was like a poultice on his wound—so mild and unemphatic was it.

    Paths of Judgement Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • It is unemphatic, and has lost all its force as an adverb of place.

  • It was graceful, unemphatic, composed of playful repartee and merry glances.

    Franklin Kane Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Her face was oval, smooth in outline, with a nose just Jewish enough for the beauty of suave curves and unemphatic outlines.

    Spiritual Adventures Arthur Symons
  • The unemphatic way in which she sometimes made important suggestions was one of Aunt Elsies peculiarities.

    Wheat and Huckleberries

    Charlotte Marion (White) Vaile
  • In unemphatic words, it was also frequently mute; so that hit was frequently written it, as in modern English.

  • Thus, in the unemphatic parts he would turn away and not be continually “nosing his interlocutor” or talking directly to him.

  • This was an emphatic reply to what was probably a very vague, general, unemphatic question.

    Warren Commission (11 of 26): Hearings Vol. XI (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • He could never have described the scene except in loose generalities about buildings of contrasting height and unemphatic color.

    In the Control Tower Will Mohler
  • Even the lank, straw-coloured hair hardly showed the streaks of yellow-white that offered their unemphatic clue to Wark's age.

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins
British Dictionary definitions for unemphatic


expressed, spoken, or done with emphasis
forceful and positive; definite; direct: an emphatic personality
sharp or clear in form, contour, or outline
important or significant; stressed: the emphatic points in an argument
(phonetics) denoting certain dental consonants of Arabic that are pronounced with accompanying pharyngeal constriction
(phonetics) an emphatic consonant, as used in Arabic
Word Origin
C18: from Greek emphatikos expressive, forceful, from emphainein to exhibit, display, from phainein to show
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
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Word Origin and History for unemphatic



1708, from Greek emphatikos, variant of emphantikos, from emphainein (see emphasis). Emphatical is earlier (1550s). Related: Emphatically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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