Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The relative prominence of a particular syllable of a word by greater intensity or by variation or modulation of pitch or tone.
  • noun Vocal prominence or emphasis given to a particular syllable, word, or phrase.
  • noun A characteristic pronunciation, especially.
  • noun One determined by the regional or social background of the speaker.
  • noun One determined by the phonetic habits of the speaker's native language carried over to his or her use of another language.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A mark or symbol used in printing and writing to indicate the stressed syllables of a spoken word.
  • noun Rhythmically significant stress in a line of verse.
  • noun Emphasis or prominence given to a note or chord, as by an increase in volume or extended duration.
  • noun A mark representing this.
  • noun A mark used as a superscript to distinguish among variables represented by the same symbol.
  • noun A mark used as a superscript to indicate the first derivative of a variable.
  • noun A mark or one of several marks used as a superscript to indicate a unit, such as feet (′) and inches (″) in linear measurement.
  • noun A distinctive feature or quality, such as a feature that accentuates, contrasts with, or complements a decorative style.
  • noun Something that accentuates or contrasts something else, as a touch of color that makes the features of an image stand out.
  • noun Particular importance or interest; emphasis: synonym: emphasis.
  • transitive verb To stress or emphasize the pronunciation of.
  • transitive verb To mark with a printed accent.
  • transitive verb To focus attention on; accentuate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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).
  • noun In decorative, art, an added relieving or contrastive touch or tint: as, deep blue or crimson, with accents of gold.
  • noun 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”
  • noun A character, usually (′ ), used to mark such an accented syllable.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A special effort of utterance by which, in a word of two or more syllables, one syllable is made more prominent than the rest.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In printing, an accented or marked letter; a type bearing an accentual or diacritical mark.
  • noun Manner of utterance; peculiarity of pronunciation, emphasis, or expression.
  • noun Words, or tones and modulations of the voice, expressive of some emotion or passion: as, the accents of prayer; the accent of reproof.
  • noun plural Words, language, or expressions in general.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A mark placed after the letter representing a note to indicate the octave in which it is found.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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, .

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To express the accent of (either by the voice or by a mark); to utter or to mark with accent.
  • transitive verb To mark emphatically; to emphasize.
  • noun A superior force of voice or of articulative effort upon some particular syllable of a word or a phrase, distinguishing it from the others.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Modulation of the voice in speaking; manner of speaking or pronouncing; peculiar or characteristic modification of the voice; tone
  • noun A word; a significant tone.
  • noun (Pros.) Stress laid on certain syllables of a verse.
  • noun A regularly recurring stress upon the tone to mark the beginning, and, more feebly, the third part of the measure.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin accentus, accentuation : ad-, ad- + cantus, song (from canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested in the 1520s, from French accenter, from Old French acenter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

Comments

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  • Library of accents.

    July 6, 2009

  • This is excellent! Thanks, Bilby!

    July 6, 2009

  • Conversation about Brit vs. American accents, or at least about Hugh Laurie on "House," can be found on marsupial (of all places).

    July 16, 2009

  • "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."

    -- CD&C

    February 13, 2013