verb (used with object), ac·cen·tu·at·ed, ac·cen·tu·at·ing.

to give emphasis or prominence to.
to mark or pronounce with an accent.

Origin of accentuate

1725–35; < Medieval Latin accentuātus intoned (past participle of accentuāre). See accent, -ate1
Related formso·ver·ac·cen·tu·ate, verb (used with object), o·ver·ac·cen·tu·at·ed, o·ver·ac·cen·tu·at··ac·cen·tu·ate, verb (used with object), re·ac·cen·tu·at·ed, re·ac·cen·tu·at·ing.un·ac·cen·tu·at·ed, adjectivewell-ac·cen·tu·at·ed, adjective
Can be confusedaccent accentuate assent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for accentuate

Contemporary Examples of accentuate

Historical Examples of accentuate

  • As a result we accentuate morals in these respects, but not in any others.

  • A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

  • A sickly smile came into his face, and seemed to accentuate its pallor.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • But this only appeared to accentuate the profound stillness.

  • The birth of the child only served to accentuate her unimportance in the house.

    Artists' Wives

    Alphonse Daudet

British Dictionary definitions for accentuate



(tr) to stress or emphasize
Derived Formsaccentuation, noun
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 accentuate

1731, from Medieval Latin accentuatus, past participle of accentuare "to accent," from Latin accentus (see accent (n.)). Originally "to pronounce with an accent;" meaning "emphasize" is recorded from 1865.

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

["Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," 1944, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer]

Related: Accentuated; accentuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper