AskDefine | Define emphasis

Dictionary Definition



1 special importance or significance; "the red light gave the central figure increased emphasis"; "the room was decorated in shades of gray with distinctive red accents" [syn: accent]
2 intensity or forcefulness of expression; "the vehemence of his denial"; "his emphasis on civil rights" [syn: vehemence]
3 special and significant stress by means of position or repetition e.g.
4 the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch); "he put the stress on the wrong syllable" [syn: stress, accent] [also: emphases (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From (emphasis) "significance" < (emphainō) "I present" or "I indicate" < (en) "in" and (phainō) "I show"


  • /'ɛmfəsɪs/


  1. Special weight or forcefulness given to something considered important.
    He paused for emphasis before saying who had won.
  2. Special attention or prominence given to something.
    Anglia TV's emphasis is on Norwich and district.
  3. Prominence given to a syllable or words, by raising the voice or printing in italic or underlined type.
    He used a yellow highlighter to indicate where to give emphasis in his speech.
  4. Related to bold.


special weight or forcefulness given to something considered important
  • German: Betonung, Nachdruck
  • Hungarian: nyomaték
special attention or prominence given to something
  • German: Emphase, Schwerpunkt
  • Hungarian: hangsúly
prominence given to a syllable or words
  • Czech: důraz
  • German: Betonung, Gewichtung
  • Hungarian: hangsúly
(typography) related to bold




Extensive Definition

The etymological origin of "emphasis" is from the Greek "εν(εμ)+ φαίνομαι" meaning : to accent the appearance, to underline, to put in bold, make something more significant or important.
The word emphasis, in addition to its main dictionary meaning, may have the following technical meanings.
emphasis in German: Emphase

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Alexandrine, accent, accentuation, amphibrach, amphimacer, anacrusis, anapest, antispast, arsis, attention, bacchius, beat, cadence, caesura, catalexis, chloriamb, chloriambus, colon, concern, concernment, consequence, consequentiality, consideration, counterpoint, cretic, dactyl, dactylic hexameter, diaeresis, dimeter, dipody, dochmiac, elegiac, elegiac couplet, elegiac pentameter, epitrite, excellence, feminine caesura, foot, force, grammatical accent, gravity, heptameter, heptapody, heroic couplet, hexameter, hexapody, high order, high rank, iamb, iambic, iambic pentameter, ictus, import, importance, interest, intonation, intonation pattern, ionic, jingle, level of stress, lilt, mark, masculine caesura, materiality, measure, merit, meter, metrical accent, metrical foot, metrical group, metrical unit, metrics, metron, molossus, moment, mora, movement, note, numbers, paeon, paralipsis, paramountcy, pentameter, pentapody, period, pitch accent, precedence, preeminence, primacy, primary stress, priority, proceleusmatic, prominence, prosodics, prosody, pyrrhic, quantity, rhetorical accent, rhythm, rhythmic pattern, rhythmical accent, rhythmical stress, secondary stress, self-importance, significance, spondee, sprung rhythm, stress, stress accent, stress arsis, stress pattern, superiority, supremacy, swing, syzygy, tertiary stress, tetrameter, tetrapody, tetraseme, thesis, tone accent, tribrach, trimeter, tripody, triseme, trochee, underlining, underscoring, value, weak stress, weight, worth
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