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

Related Words for accentuating

highlight, emphasize, underscore, underline, stress, accent, spotlight, feature

Examples from the Web for accentuating

Historical Examples of accentuating

  • Now it rose, now it fell, accentuating the silence dense about it.

  • “And nothing to you,” said Burchill, accentuating his habitual drawl.

    The Herapath Property

    J. S. Fletcher

  • I therefore played from c to e, accentuating e in particular.


    Henny Kindermann

  • Figures 178 and 179 show a better form of enrichment by accentuating the outline.

    Industrial Arts Design

    William H. Varnum

  • I had half a mind to undeceive him, but he might have imagined I was accentuating my points.

    Love's Usuries

    Louis Creswicke

British Dictionary definitions for accentuating



(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 accentuating



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