[ ih-mit ]
/ ɪˈmɪt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: emit / emitted / emitting on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), e·mit·ted, e·mit·ting.
to send forth (liquid, light, heat, sound, particles, etc.); discharge.
to give forth or release (a sound): He emitted one shrill cry and then was silent.
to utter or voice, as opinions.
to issue, as an order or a decree.
to issue formally for circulation, as paper money.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of emit

1620–30; <Latin ēmittere to send forth, equivalent to ē-e-1 + mittere to send


re·e·mit, verb (used with object), re·e·mit·ted, re·e·mit·ting.self-e·mit·ted, adjectiveun·e·mit·ted, adjectiveun·e·mit·ting, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does emit mean?

Emit means to release or discharge something, such as gas, liquid, heat, sound, light, or radiation.

The process of emitting is called emission. Emission can also refer to something that has been emitted. A specific example of an emission is the exhaust emitted from cars (in the U.S., such emissions are regulated through emissions tests). This exhaust is just one form of carbon emissions—greenhouse gases emitted from various sources that are known to contribute to global warming and climate change.

In things like TVs and light bulbs, the term LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” a semiconductor device that emits light when conducting current.

Emit usually implies that things are being released in a passive way, but some senses of the word are more active.

Emit sometimes specifically means to give off or make a sound, as in My cat emitted the worst sound when I accidentally stepped on his tail. It can also be used in a somewhat figurative way meaning to say or voice, as in She certainly emitted her opinion. 

Example: Collectively, volcanoes emit carbon dioxide at far lower levels than cars and airplanes.

Where does emit come from?

The first records of the word emit come from the 1600s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb ēmittere, from e-, meaning “out of,” and mittere, “to send.”

To emit something is to send it out or give it off, often in a passive way. Such emissions are often by-products released during the course of other processes—such as smoke being emitted from a factory or heat being emitted from a machine. Emissions from cars and airplanes come from the burning of fuel by their engines. When we say that someone emitted a sound, it can imply that it almost came out on its own.

In physics and electronics, the word emission is used in a more specific way to refer to the amount of electrons being emitted from an object.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to emit?

What are some synonyms for emit?

What are some words that share a root or word element with emit

What are some words that often get used in discussing emit?

How is emit used in real life?

Emit is usually used in technical or scientific contexts.



Try using emit!

Which of the following things can be emitted?

A. liquid
B. gas
C. sound
D. all of the above

How to use emit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emit

/ (ɪˈmɪt) /

verb emits, emitting or emitted (tr)
to give or send forth; dischargethe pipe emitted a stream of water
to give voice to; uttershe emitted a shrill scream
physics to give off (radiation or particles)
to put (currency) into circulation

Word Origin for emit

C17: from Latin ēmittere to send out, from mittere to send
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