Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Special forcefulness of expression that gives importance to something singled out; stress: a lecture on housekeeping with emphasis on neatness; paused for emphasis, then announced the winner's name.
  • n. Special attention or effort directed toward something: a small-town newspaper's emphasis on local affairs.
  • n. Prominence given to a syllable, word, or words, as by raising the voice or printing in italic type.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Special weight or forcefulness given to something considered important.
  • n. Special attention or prominence given to something.
  • n. Prominence given to a syllable or words, by raising the voice or printing in italic or underlined type.
  • n. Related to bold.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A particular stress of utterance, or force of voice, given in reading and speaking to one or more words whose signification the speaker intends to impress specially upon his audience.
  • n. A peculiar impressiveness of expression or weight of thought; vivid representation, enforcing assent.
  • n. a special attention given to, or extra importance attached to, something.
  • n. something to which great importance is attached.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhet.: Originally, a figure consisting in a significant, pregnant, or suggestive mode of expression, implying (especially in connection with the context or the circumstances under which an oration is delivered) more than would necessarily or ordinarily be meant by the words used.
  • n. The mode of delivery appropriate to pregnant or suggestive expression; hence, rhetorical stress; in general, significant stress; special stress or force of voice given to the utterance of a word, succession of words, or part of a word, in order to excite special attention.
  • n. Special and significant vigor or force: as, emphasis of gesticulation; in general, significance; distinctiveness.
  • n. Synonyms Emphasis, Accent, Stress. Emphasis is generally upon a word, but may be upon a combination of words or a single syllable. Accent is upon a syllable: as, the place of the accent in the word “demonstrate” is not fixed. Stress is a synonym for either emphasis or accent. See inflection.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. special importance or significance
  • n. special and significant stress by means of position or repetition e.g.
  • n. the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch)
  • n. intensity or forcefulness of expression

Etymologies

Latin, from Greek, from emphainein, to exhibit, display : en-, in; see en-2 + phainein, to show; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin, from Ancient Greek ἔμφασις (emphasis, "significance"), from ἐμφαίνω (emphainō, "I present, I indicate"), from ἔν (en, "in") + φαίνω (phainō, "I show"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The main emphasis is on regional scenarios for Canada, so the service offers some basic downscaling, and ability to couple the scenarios with other regional data sources, such as data from weather monitoring stations in the region.

    2009 September | Serendipity

  • The longer the shift in emphasis is delayed, the lower the likelihood of the collective effort needed to restore the health of an interdependent and interconnected global economy.

    Beyond brinkmanship: A better economic path for the U.S. and China

  • Then came the Revolution -- and a change in emphasis from the minutiae of rural life to the national struggle.

    Mariano Azuela

  • Remember about a month ago, when President-elect Obama announced his foreign policy team, and it looked as if there was going to be a shift in emphasis from the military to the civilian agencies of government in terms of money, attention and influence?

    Shift | ATTACKERMAN

  • This work's main emphasis is on the bitter internecine struggle that raged in the liberal community between 1945-48, when it split on the divisive issues of relations with Russia and the feasibility of working with domestic Communists to achieve desirable goals.

    Jim Tuck's homepage, biography and published works

  • But Dennis Culhane's insolent observation that outreach workers and emergency-shelter managers are "threatened ideologically and financially" by the Administration's shift in emphasis is loaded with bitter irony.

    When George Meets John

  • The public witness of religious faith needs to shift its main emphasis from the prescriptive practice of advocacy to practices of describing the world, in the public square, in ways that call into question the narrow vision of human life and human economy that dominates contemporary political imagination.

    Faith and Citizenship

  • In terms of generating jobs, the ILO's main emphasis is on the promotion of small enterprises and the upgrading of micro-enterprises in the informal sector which generate most new jobs worldwide.

    "If You Desire Peace, Cultivate Justice"

  • In recent years the order has extended its activities to cover twenty new countries, although the main emphasis is still on India and the neighbouring state of

    The Nobel Peace Prize 1979 - Presentation Speech

  • Furthermore, when main emphasis is on promotion, the inevitable outcome is a lot of expectations that cannot be fulfilled and a lot of promises that cannot be kept.

    The Development of Men

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