American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The relative prominence of a particular syllable of a word by greater intensity or by variation or modulation of pitch or tone.
- n. Vocal prominence or emphasis given to a particular syllable, word, or phrase.
- n. A characteristic pronunciation, especially:
- n. One determined by the regional or social background of the speaker.
- n. One determined by the phonetic habits of the speaker's native language carried over to his or her use of another language.
- n. A mark or symbol used in the printing and writing of certain languages to indicate the vocal quality to be given to a particular letter: an acute accent.
- n. A mark or symbol used in printing and writing to indicate the stressed syllables of a spoken word.
- n. Rhythmically significant stress in a line of verse.
- n. Music Emphasis or prominence given to a note or chord, as by an increase in volume or extended duration.
- n. Music A mark representing this.
- n. Mathematics A mark used as a superscript to distinguish among variables represented by the same symbol.
- n. Mathematics A mark used as a superscript to indicate the first derivative of a variable.
- n. A mark or one of several marks used as a superscript to indicate a unit, such as feet (ʹ) and inches (〞) in linear measurement.
- n. A distinctive feature or quality, such as a feature that accentuates, contrasts with, or complements a decorative style.
- n. Something that accentuates or contrasts something else, as a touch of color that makes the features of an image stand out.
- n. Particular importance or interest; emphasis: The accent is on comfort. See Synonyms at emphasis.
- v. To stress or emphasize the pronunciation of.
- v. To mark with a printed accent.
- v. To focus attention on; accentuate: a program that accents leadership development.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A special effort of utterance by which, in a word of two or more syllables, one syllable is made more prominent than the rest. This prominence is given in part by a raised pitch, in part by increased force or stress of voice, and in part (as a consequence of these) by a fuller pronunciation of the constituents of the syllable. These elements are variously combined in different languages. In English, elevation of pitch is conspicuous when a word is spoken or read by itself as a word, without any reference to a sentence of which it forms or should form a part; but in connected speech the tone and modulation of the sentence dominate those of the individual words composing it, and the change of pitch may be absent, or even reversed, the other elements giving without its aid the required prominence. By the native grammarians of the classical languages of our family (Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit), change of pitch was the recognized constituent of accent. They called a syllable acute if its tone was sharpened or raised, grave if it remained at the general level of utterance, and circumflex if it began at acute pitch and ended at grave. A word of three or more syllables often has in our language, besides its principal accent, another and lighter or secondary one, or even also a third; such secondary accents are denoted in this work by a double accent-mark; thus, val″e-tu-dina′ ri-an, an″te-pe-nul′ ti-mate. The vowels of wholly unaccented syllables in English are much modified, being either made briefer and lighter, or else reduced even to the sound of the so-called neutral vowel, the “short u” of but. These two effects are marked in this work by writing respectively a single or a double dot under the vowel, in the respelling for pronunciation. Emphasis differs from
accentin being expended upon a word which is to be made prominent in the sentence.
- n. A mark or character used in writing to direct the stress of the voice in pronunciation, or to mark a particular tone, length of vowel-sound, or the like. There is commonly only one such sign (′ ) used to mark the stress or accent in English, except in works on elocution, in which are employed the three Greek accents, namely, the acute (´), the grave (`), and the circumflex (~ or ^). In elocution the first shows when the voice is to be raised, and is called the rising inflection; the second, when it is to be depressed, and is called the falling inflection; and the third, when the vowel is to be uttered with an undulating sound, and is called the compound or waving inflection. An accent over the e in -ed is sometimes used in English poetry to denote that it is to be pronounced as a distinct syllable: as, lovèd or lovéd.
- n. In printing, an accented or marked letter; a type bearing an accentual or diacritical mark. The accents most generally used in English type (chiefly for foreign words), and regularly furnished in a full font, are the vowels bearing the acute (´), grave (`), and circumflex (^) accents, and the dieresis (¨), and also the cedilla or French c (ç) and the Spanish n (ñ). Accents for occasional use are the vowels marked long (¯) and short (˘), and other marked letters required for technical works or peculiar to certain languages.
- n. Manner of utterance; peculiarity of pronunciation, emphasis, or expression. Specifically, a peculiar modulation of the voice or manner of pronunciation, marked by subtle differences of elocution, characteristic of the spoken language of a given district or a particular rank in society, and especially of each distinct nationality.
- n. Words, or tones and modulations of the voice, expressive of some emotion or passion: as, the accents of prayer; the accent of reproof.
- n. plural Words, language, or expressions in general.
- n. In eccles. chanting, one of the seven forms of modulation used in parts sung by the officiating priest or his assistants, viz., the immutable, medium, grave, acute, moderate, interrogative, final. In music: A stress or emphasis given to certain notes or parts of bars in a composition. It is divided into two kinds, grammatical and rhetorical or esthetic. The first is perfectly regular in its occurrence, always falling on the first part of a bar; the esthetic accent is irregular, and depends on taste and feeling.
- n. A mark placed after the letter representing a note to indicate the octave in which it is found. Thus, if C is in the great octave (see
octave), c is an octave above, c′ an octave above that, c″ in the next, and so on.
- n. In mathematics and mech.: In all literal notation, a mark like an acute accent placed after a letter in order that it may, without confusion, be used to represent different quantities. In this way a b c, a′ b′ c′ , a″ b″ c″, etc., may stand for magnitudes as different in value as those which, but for the use of the accents, must be represented by different letters. Letters so marked are read thus: a prime or first (a′ ), a second (a″), a third (a‴), etc.
- n. In geometry and trigonometry, a mark at the right hand of a number indicating minutes of a degree, two such marks indicating seconds: as, 20° 10′ 30″ = 20 degrees, 10 minutes, 30 seconds. In mensuration and engineering, a mark at the right hand of a number used to denote feet, inches, and lines; thus, 3′ 6″ 7‴ = 3 feet, 6 inches, 7 lines. In plans and drawings, a mark similarly used after repeated letters or figures, to indicate related or corresponding parts, and read as in algebra. See above, . Synonyms See
- To express the accent of; pronounce or utter with a particular stress or modulation of the voice: as, to accent a word properly.
- To give expression to; utter.
- To mark with a written accent or accents: as, to accent a word in order to indicate its pronunciation.
- To emphasize; dwell upon; accentuate (which see).
- n. In decorative, art, an added relieving or contrastive touch or tint: as, deep blue or crimson, with accents of gold.
- n. The special stress or emphasis laid on a particular word in a sentence: as, for example, on ‘us’ in the line, “Better for us, perhaps, it might appear”
- n. A character, usually (′ ), used to mark such an accented syllable.
- n. A character, usually (″), used to mark such an accent. The term often includes minor accents of the third (tertiary) or weaker grades, as in in″′ con″ tro-ver'ti-ble, hy″percat″′ a-lec'tic, in″″com″ pre-hen″′ si-bil'i-ty, etc.
- v. transitive To express the accent of vocally; to utter with accent.
- v. transitive To mark emphatically; to emphasize; to accentuate; to make prominent.
- v. transitive To mark with written accents.
- n. linguistics A higher-pitched or stronger articulation of a particular syllable of a word or phrase in order to distinguish it from the others or to emphasize it.
- n. figuratively Emphasis or importance in general.
- n. linguistics A mark or character used in writing, in order to indicate the place of the spoken accent, or to indicate the nature or quality of the vowel marked.
- n. linguistics Modulation of the voice in speaking; the manner of speaking or pronouncing; a peculiar or characteristic modification of the voice, expressing emotion; tone.
- n. A word; a significant tone or sound.
- n. Expressions in general; speech.
- n. prosody, poetry Stress laid on certain syllables of a verse.
- n. music A regularly recurring stress upon the tone to mark the beginning, and, more feebly, the third part of the measure.
- n. music A special emphasis of a tone, even in the weaker part of the measure.
- n. music The rhythmical accent, which marks phrases and sections of a period.
- n. music The expressive emphasis and shading of a passage.
- n. music A mark used to represent specific stress on a note.
- n. mathematics A mark placed at the right hand of a letter, and a little above it, to distinguish magnitudes of a similar kind expressed by the same letter, but differing in value, as y', y''.
- n. geometry A mark at the right hand of a number, indicating minutes of a degree, seconds, etc., as in 12' 27'', meaning twelve minutes and twenty-seven seconds.
- n. engineering A mark used to denote feet and inches, as in 6' 10'', meaning six feet ten inches.
- n. Emphasis laid on a part of an artistic design or composition; an emphasized detail, in particular a detail in sharp contrast to its surroundings.
- n. A very small gemstone set into a piece of jewellery.
- n. A distinctive feature or quality.
- n. archaic Utterance.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A superior force of voice or of articulative effort upon some particular syllable of a word or a phrase, distinguishing it from the others.
- n. A mark or character used in writing, and serving to regulate the pronunciation; esp.: (a) a mark to indicate the nature and place of the spoken accent; (b) a mark to indicate the quality of sound of the vowel marked.
- n. Modulation of the voice in speaking; manner of speaking or pronouncing; peculiar or characteristic modification of the voice; tone.
- n. A word; a significant tone. expressions in general; speech.
- n. (Pros.) Stress laid on certain syllables of a verse.
- n. A regularly recurring stress upon the tone to mark the beginning, and, more feebly, the third part of the measure.
- n. A special emphasis of a tone, even in the weaker part of the measure.
- n. The
rhythmical accent, which marks phrases and sections of a period.
- n. The
expressiveemphasis and shading of a passage.
- n. A mark placed at the right hand of a letter, and a little above it, to distinguish magnitudes of a similar kind expressed by the same letter, but differing in value, as y', y″.
- n. (Trigon.) A mark at the right hand of a number, indicating minutes of a degree, seconds, etc.
- n. (Engin.) A mark used to denote feet and inches.
- v. To express the accent of (either by the voice or by a mark); to utter or to mark with accent.
- v. To mark emphatically; to emphasize.
- n. the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch)
- v. to stress, single out as important
- n. special importance or significance
- n. the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people
- n. distinctive manner of oral expression
- v. put stress on; utter with an accent
- n. a diacritical mark used to indicate stress or placed above a vowel to indicate a special pronunciation
- First attested in the late 14th century. (The "decorative" sense is first attested in 1972.) From Middle French accent, from Old French acent, from Latin accentus, formed from ad + cantus ("song") with a vowel change. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French, from Latin accentus, accentuation : ad-, ad- + cantus, song (from canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I tend to think of the term accent as used sometimes as a non-technical word for dialect, or as something used to talk about the speech of those speaking in a second or third or what have you language.”
“Look at people like Henry Kissinger whose command of English far exceeds that of a majority of Americans, yet his accent is atrocious and he has never been able to improve upon it.”
“Tommy -- I speak with a strong twang when I've been home for a while or when I'm on the phone with friends and family who are still in TX, but otherwise I don't think my accent is all that strong.”
“Note the difference in the forms of llamar here – llamé with an accent means I called, llame without the accent is the command form asking someone else to call you.”
“Tonic accent" is not really a suitable term for any pronunciation of French, for tonic accent denotes speaking a given syllable LOUDER than another, which does not happen in French.”
“Is it difficult to stay in character since the accent is not yours.”
“Even his British accent is deteriorating by the minute.”
“Its a reality that an Afrikaans accent is often associated with stupidity, bone-headedness and yes, racism.”
“The accent is on a Swedish sleuth in 'Wallander' - USATODAY. com”
“(And their accent is much closer to the Upper Midwest than New York or Los Angeles.)”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘accent’.
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