Definitions

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

  • noun Special forcefulness of expression that gives importance to something singled out; stress.
  • noun Special attention or effort directed toward something.
  • noun Prominence given to a syllable, word, or words, as by raising the voice or printing in italic type.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Special and significant vigor or force: as, emphasis of gesticulation; in general, significance; distinctiveness.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Rhet.) 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.
  • noun A peculiar impressiveness of expression or weight of thought; vivid representation, enforcing assent.
  • noun a special attention given to, or extra importance attached to, something.
  • noun something to which great importance is attached.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Latin, from Greek, from emphainein, to exhibit, display : en-, in; see en– + phainein, to show; see bhā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin, from Ancient Greek ἔμφασις (emphasis, "significance"), from ἐμφαίνω (emphainō, "I present, I indicate"), from ἔν (en, "in") + φαίνω (phainō, "I show").

Examples

  • 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

  • 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.

    Who needs climate data? | Serendipity

  • 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 24 | Serendipity

  • 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

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

    Mariano Azuela

  • 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

  • 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

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