[ ih-mur-juhn-see ]
See synonyms for: emergencyemergencies on Thesaurus.com

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.

  1. emergency room: Bring him to emergency—the doctor will meet you there.

  1. granted, used, or for use in an emergency: an emergency leave; emergency lights.

Origin of emergency

First recorded in 1625–35; from Medieval Latin ēmergentia, equivalent to ēmerg- (see emerge) + -entia noun suffix (see -ency); see also emergent

synonym study For emergency

1. 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.

Other words for emergency

Other words from emergency

  • non·e·mer·gen·cy, adjective, noun, plural non·e·mer·gen·cies.
  • post·e·mer·gen·cy, adjective
  • pre·e·mer·gen·cy, adjective, noun, plural pre·e·mer·gen·cies.

Words Nearby emergency

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use emergency in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emergency


/ (ɪˈmɜːdʒənsɪ) /

nounplural -cies
    • an unforeseen or sudden occurrence, esp of a danger demanding immediate remedy or action

    • (as modifier): an emergency exit

    • a patient requiring urgent treatment

    • (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