- prominence of a syllable in terms of differential loudness, or of pitch, or length, or of a combination of these.
- degree of prominence of a syllable within a word and sometimes of a word within a phrase: primary accent; secondary accent.
- a mark indicating stress (as (·, ·), or (ˈ, ˌ), or (′, ″)), vowel quality (as French grave `, acute ´, circumflex ^), form (as French la “the” versus là “there”), or pitch.
- any similar mark.
- regularly recurring stress.
- a mark indicating stress or some other distinction in pronunciation or value.
- 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).
- Often accents.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: French accent; Southern accent.Compare tone(def 5).
- such a mode of pronunciation recognized as being of foreign origin: He still speaks with an accent.
- a stress or emphasis given to certain notes.
- a mark noting this.
- stress or emphasis regularly recurring as a feature of rhythm.
- 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).
- a symbol used to indicate a particular unit of measure, as feet (′) or inches (″), minutes (′) or seconds (″).
- 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.
- words or tones expressive of some emotion.
- accents, words; language; speech: He spoke in accents bold.
- distinctive character or tone: an accent of whining complaint.
- special attention, stress, or emphasis: an accent on accuracy.
- a detail that is emphasized by contrasting with its surroundings: a room decorated in navy blue with two red vases as accents.
- a distinctive but subordinate pattern, motif, color, flavor, or the like: The salad dressing had an accent of garlic.
Origin of accent
Examples from the Web for accent
But the people from Valley Stream had such a thick New York accent that was all around me.Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness
January 7, 2015
I struck up a conversation with a man in his fifties or sixties who had a Brooklyn accent.I Ate Potato Pancakes Til I Plotzed
December 17, 2014
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.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
Of course, in her Neverland they bleach your teeth so white they glow and Madonna coaches you on your convincing British accent.‘Peter Pan Live!’ Review: No Amount of Clapping Brings It to Life
December 5, 2014
An older white woman, stopped Cook to ask, in strong New York accent, “Oh no, did they let him off?”‘They Let Him Off?’ Scenes from NYC in Disbelief
December 4, 2014
How would the first accent of his iron tongue have startled his resurrectionists!A Bell's Biography
Like most educated Russians, he spoke English with barely an accent.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
His accent, which was Kentuckian and therefore Southern, had helped him also.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
The accent upon the pronoun was very faint, but it was there for him to notice if he liked.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
I thought there was something of an English accent in your speech now and then.The Mystery of Murray Davenport
Robert Neilson Stephens
- the characteristic mode of pronunciation of a person or group, esp one that betrays social or geographical origin
- the relative prominence of a spoken or sung syllable, esp with regard to stress or pitchCompare pitch 1 (def. 28), stress (def. 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
- 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 homographsSee acute (def. 10), grave 2 (def. 5), circumflex
- (in some languages, such as Chinese) any of the tones that have phonemic value in distinguishing one word from anotherCompare tone (def. 7)
- rhythmic stress in verse or prose
- stress placed on certain notes in a piece of music, indicated by a symbol printed over the note concerned
- the rhythmic pulse of a piece or passage, usually represented as the stress on the first beat of each barSee also syncopation
- maths either of two superscript symbols indicating a specific unit, such as feet (′), inches (″), minutes of arc (′), or seconds of arc (″)
- a distinctive characteristic of anything, such as taste, pattern, style, etc
- particular attention or emphasisan accent on learning
- a strongly contrasting detaila blue rug with red accents
- to mark with an accent in writing, speech, music, etc
- to lay particular emphasis or stress on
Word Origin and History for accent
late 14c., "particular mode of pronunciation," from Middle French accent, from Old French acent (13c.), from Latin accentus "song added to speech," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + cantus "a singing," past participle of canere "to sing" (see chant (v.)). Loan-translation of Greek prosoidia, from pros- "to" + oide "song," which apparently described the pitch scheme in Greek verse. The decorating sense of "something that emphasizes or highlights" is from 1972.
"to pronounce with accent or stress," 1520s, from Middle French accenter, from Old French acenter, from accent (see accent (n.)). Related: Accented; accenting.