View synonyms for accent


[ noun ak-sent; verb ak-sent, ak-sent ]


  1. prominence of a syllable in terms of differential loudness, or of pitch, or length, or of a combination of these.
  2. degree of prominence of a syllable within a word and sometimes of a word within a phrase:

    primary accent; secondary accent.

  3. a mark indicating stress (as (ˈ, ˌ), or (′, ″)), vowel quality (as French grave `, acute ´, circumflex ^ ), form (as French la “the” versus “there”), or pitch.
  4. any similar mark.
  5. Prosody.
    1. regularly recurring stress.
    2. a mark indicating stress or some other distinction in pronunciation or value.
  6. a musical tone or pattern of pitch inherent in a particular language either as a feature essential to the identification of a vowel or a syllable or to the general acoustic character of the language. Compare tone ( def 7 ).
  7. Often accents.
    1. the unique speech patterns, inflections, choice of words, etc., that identify a particular individual:

      We recognized his accents immediately. She corrected me in her usual mild accents.

    2. the distinctive style or tone characteristic of an author, composer, etc.:

      the unmistakably Brahmsian accents of the sonata; She recognized the familiar accents of Robert Frost in the poem.

  8. a mode of pronunciation, as pitch or tone, emphasis pattern, or intonation, characteristic of or peculiar to the speech of a particular person, group, or locality: Compare tone ( def 5 ).

    French accent; Southern accent.

  9. such a mode of pronunciation recognized as being of foreign origin:

    He still speaks with an accent.

  10. Music.
    1. a stress or emphasis given to certain notes.
    2. a mark noting this.
    3. stress or emphasis regularly recurring as a feature of rhythm.
  11. Mathematics.
    1. a symbol used to distinguish similar quantities that differ in value, as in b ′, b ″, b ‴ (called b prime, b second or b double prime, b third or b triple prime, respectively).
    2. a symbol used to indicate a particular unit of measure, as feet (′) or inches (″), minutes (′) or seconds (″).
    3. a symbol used to indicate the order of a derivative of a function in calculus, as f′ (called f prime ) is the first derivative of a function f.
  12. words or tones expressive of some emotion.
  13. accents, words; language; speech:

    He spoke in accents bold.

  14. distinctive character or tone:

    an accent of whining complaint.

  15. special attention, stress, or emphasis:

    an accent on accuracy.

  16. a detail that is emphasized by contrasting with its surroundings:

    a room decorated in navy blue with two red vases as accents.

  17. a distinctive but subordinate pattern, motif, color, flavor, or the like:

    The salad dressing had an accent of garlic.

verb (used with object)

  1. to pronounce with prominence (a syllable within a word or a word within a phrase): Compare stress ( def 12 ).

    to accent the first syllable of “into”; to accent the first word of “White House.”

  2. to mark with a written accent or accents.
  3. to give emphasis or prominence to; accentuate.



  1. the characteristic mode of pronunciation of a person or group, esp one that betrays social or geographical origin
  2. the relative prominence of a spoken or sung syllable, esp with regard to stress or pitch Compare pitch 1 stress
  3. a mark (such as ˈ , ˌ , ´ or `) used in writing to indicate the stress or prominence of a syllable. Such a mark may also be used to indicate that a written syllable is to be pronounced, esp when such pronunciation is not usual, as in turnèd
  4. any of various marks or symbols conventionally used in writing certain languages to indicate the quality of a vowel, or for some other purpose, such as differentiation of homographs See acute grave 2 circumflex
  5. (in some languages, such as Chinese) any of the tones that have phonemic value in distinguishing one word from another Compare tone
  6. rhythmic stress in verse or prose
  7. music
    1. stress placed on certain notes in a piece of music, indicated by a symbol printed over the note concerned
    2. the rhythmic pulse of a piece or passage, usually represented as the stress on the first beat of each bar See also syncopation
  8. maths either of two superscript symbols indicating a specific unit, such as feet (′), inches (″), minutes of arc (′), or seconds of arc (″)
  9. a distinctive characteristic of anything, such as taste, pattern, style, etc
  10. particular attention or emphasis

    an accent on learning

  11. a strongly contrasting detail

    a blue rug with red accents


  1. to mark with an accent in writing, speech, music, etc
  2. to lay particular emphasis or stress on

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Other Words From

  • ac·cent·less adjective
  • ac·cen·tu·a·ble [ak-, sen, -choo-, uh, -b, uh, l], adjective
  • non·ac·cent noun
  • non·ac·cent·ed adjective
  • non·ac·cent·ing adjective
  • re·ac·cent verb (used with object)
  • well-ac·cent·ed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of accent1

1520–30; < Latin accentus speaking tone, equivalent to ac- ac- + -centus, combining form of cantus song ( canto ); translation of Greek prosōidía prosody

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Word History and Origins

Origin of accent1

C14: via Old French from Latin accentus, from ad- to + cantus chant, song. The Latin is a rendering of Greek prosōidia a song sung to music, the tone of a syllable

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Example Sentences

It really felt like doing an accent even though we’re both Australian.

From Fortune

These accents tend to be the standard form of the language, so, these are usually the pronunciations you hear from mass media, government, business, education … from the dominant social group.

Its founder, Nosipho Maketo-van den Bragt, knew first-hand that there were women in high-flying corporate jobs who needed meticulously-tailored outfits that had colors and accents reflecting a beautiful heritage.

From Quartz

None of these companies have a definition of what “neutral accents” mean.

I was in high school when I realized that I spoke with an accent.

But the people from Valley Stream had such a thick New York accent that was all around me.

I struck up a conversation with a man in his fifties or sixties who had a Brooklyn accent.

He seems miffed that Liv Ullmann would go off and do a musical when he was thinking of putting her, accent and all, in his movie.

Of course, in her Neverland they bleach your teeth so white they glow and Madonna coaches you on your convincing British accent.

On it a young beardless man speaks Chechen and Arabic with a soft accent.

And all over the world each language would be taught with the same accent and quantities and idioms—a very desirable thing indeed.

The baron's pallid face looked more bloodless, his accent was fiercer, and his countenance more ruffianly as he uttered all this.

As Ted suspected, the stranger was of Northern birth, which showed itself in his accent and cold, proud bearing.

Near me, sitting at a little table, were two gentlemen—unmistakably Scotch, as their accent proclaimed.

Let your articulation be easy, clear, correct in accent, and suited in tone and emphasis to your discourse.





accelerometeraccent mark