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

  • adjective Coming into view, existence, or notice.
  • adjective Emerging.
  • adjective Rising above a surrounding medium, especially a fluid.
  • adjective Of or relating to aquatic plants such as cattails or rushes that are rooted below a body of water or in an area that is periodically submerged but extend above the water level.
  • adjective Relating to an exceptionally tall tree whose crown extends well above the level of the upper canopy.
  • adjective Arising or occurring unexpectedly.
  • adjective Demanding prompt action; urgent.
  • adjective Occurring as a consequence; resultant.
  • noun One that is emerging or coming into view or existence.
  • noun An emergent aquatic plant.
  • noun An emergent tree.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Rising from or out of anything that covers or surrounds; coming forth or into view; protruding.
  • Specifically— In bryology, rising slightly above the perichætium: applied to the capsule.
  • In lichenology, protruding through the cortical layer.
  • Issuing or proceeding.
  • Coming suddenly; sudden; casual; unexpected; hence, calling for immediate action or remedy; urgent; pressing.
  • noun That which emerges or comes forth; that which appears or comes into view; a natural occurrence.

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

  • adjective Rising or emerging out of a fluid or anything that covers or conceals; issuing; coming to light.
  • adjective Suddenly appearing; arising unexpectedly; calling for prompt action; urgent.
  • adjective (Chron.) the epoch or date from which any people begin to compute their time or dates; as, the emergent year of Christendom is that of the birth of Christ; the emergent year of the United States is that of the declaration of their independence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective emerging; coming into view or into existence; nascent; new.
  • adjective botany taller than the surrounding vegetation
  • adjective botany having leaves and flowers above the water
  • adjective video games Having gameplay that arises from its mechanics, rather than a linear storyline.
  • noun botany A plant whose root system grows underwater, but whose shoot, leaves and flowers grows up and above the water.

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

  • adjective occurring unexpectedly and requiring urgent action
  • adjective coming into existence


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Emergent phenomena is that of a developmentally expressive going-on; emergent nature is continual, progressively changing or transitional.
    The emergent potential of something is growth yet to be realized.

    June 25, 2015