emergency

[ih-mur-juhn-see]
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noun, plural e·mer·gen·cies.
  1. a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action.
  2. a state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event: a weather emergency; a financial emergency.
adjective
  1. granted, used, or for use in an emergency: an emergency leave; emergency lights.

Origin of emergency

1625–35; < Medieval Latin ēmergentia, equivalent to ēmerg- (see emerge) + -entia -ency. See emergent
Related formsnon·e·mer·gen·cy, adjective, noun, plural non·e·mer·gen·cies.post·e·mer·gen·cy, adjectivepre·e·mer·gen·cy, adjective, noun, plural pre·e·mer·gen·cies.

Synonyms for emergency

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1. exigency, extremity, pinch, quandary, plight. Emergency, crisis, straits refer to dangerous situations. An emergency is a situation demanding immediate action: A power failure created an emergency in transportation. A crisis is a vital or decisive turning point in a condition or state of affairs, and everything depends on the outcome of it: Help arrived when affairs had reached a crisis. Strait (usually straits ) suggests a pressing situation, often one of need or want: The family was in desperate straits for food and clothing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for emergency

emergency

noun plural -cies
    1. an unforeseen or sudden occurrence, esp of a danger demanding immediate remedy or action
    2. (as modifier)an emergency exit
    1. a patient requiring urgent treatment
    2. (as modifier)an emergency ward
  1. state of emergency a condition, declared by a government, in which martial law applies, usually because of civil unrest or natural disaster
  2. NZ a player selected to stand by to replace an injured member of a team; reserve
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 emergency
n.

"unforeseen occurrence requiring immediate attention," 1630s, from Latin emergens, present participle of emergere (see emerge). Or from emerge + -ency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper