[ em-fuh-sis ]
/ ˈɛm fə sɪs /

noun, plural em·pha·ses [em-fuh-seez] /ˈɛm fəˌsiz/.

special stress laid upon, or importance attached to, anything: The president's statement gave emphasis to the budgetary crisis.
something that is given great stress or importance: Morality was the emphasis of his speech.
  1. special and significant stress of voice laid on particular words or syllables.
  2. stress laid on particular words, by means of position, repetition, or other indication.
intensity or force of expression, action, etc.: Determination lent emphasis to his proposals.
prominence, as of form or outline: The background detracts from the emphasis of the figure.
Electronics. preemphasis.

Origin of emphasis

1565–75; < Latin < Greek émphasis indication, equivalent to em- em-2 + phásis phasis

Related forms

mis·em·pha·sis, noun, plural mis·em·pha·ses.re·em·pha·sis, noun, plural re·em·pha·ses.su·per·em·pha·sis, noun, plural su·per·em·pha·ses.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emphasis

British Dictionary definitions for emphasis


/ (ˈɛmfəsɪs) /

noun plural -ses (-siːz)

special importance or significance
an object, idea, etc, that is given special importance or significance
stress made to fall on a particular syllable, word, or phrase in speaking
force or intensity of expressionhe spoke with special emphasis on the subject of civil rights
sharpness or clarity of form or outlinethe sunlight gave emphasis to the shape of the mountain

Word Origin for emphasis

C16: via Latin from Greek: meaning, (in rhetoric) significant stress; see emphatic
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