Definition of emphasis in US English:



  • 1Special importance, value, or prominence given to something.

    ‘they placed great emphasis on the individual's freedom’
    ‘different emphases and viewpoints’
    • ‘Perhaps the lack of emphasis on fairness indicates denial of the reality.’
    • ‘An emphasis on this element indicate a practical, cautious, and pragmatic approach to life.’
    • ‘I can accept that different cultures have different emphases and that analytic thinking may be more prevalent in one than another.’
    • ‘This is the strength of the master plan, where the emphasis remains on the spaces, not the buildings.’
    • ‘It puts the main emphasis on a cease-fire to end the current violence followed by negotiations.’
    • ‘The reality is that in the fire service so much of the emphasis is put on strength and stamina.’
    • ‘To achieve the transition, the continent has to put emphasis on technology and innovations.’
    • ‘This basic structural difference leads in turn to radically different emphases within the two scholarly worlds.’
    • ‘Inspectors stressed that more emphasis on multiculturalism was needed.’
    • ‘They also highlight the need for continued emphasis on the primary prevention of coronary heart disease.’
    • ‘This indicates a shift of emphasis among ethnographers as to what folk art meant.’
    • ‘Other than that, however, today's two stories have very different emphases.’
    • ‘But she particularly likes its emphasis on the spiritual rather than the material.’
    • ‘A variety of events are being organised throughout the year with the emphasis on community spirit.’
    • ‘This sort of exaggerated emphasis on good manners can be used to promote servility.’
    • ‘All of the essays repeat this same cluster of ideas, developing their implications with different emphases and nuances.’
    • ‘Above all, however, they developed a model of spirituality that placed much emphasis on action in the world.’
    • ‘This case displays a change in emphasis from spiritual growth toward consumerism.’
    • ‘It is difficult to assign priority to the problems since each centre's emphases and interests are different.’
    • ‘I also stress that the Government has placed an enormous amount of emphasis on the family.’
    • ‘Women are her main protagonists and she places emphasis on the closed domesticity of an interior female world.’
    prominence, importance, significance
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    1. 1.1 Stress laid on a word or words to indicate special meaning or particular importance.
      • ‘I laid particular emphasis on the word ' had '… Yes, that's right.’
      • ‘He put a slight emphasis on the last word, as though unsure exactly what it implied.’
      • ‘Except exploring, " I said making sure to add extra emphasis on the word ' exploring '.’
      • ‘She put emphasis on the word him, and suddenly yesterday's events came to me and I started to cry.’
      • ‘She put a false emphasis on that last word that made it sound like something else.’
      • ‘He spoke in a very strange way, all in Russian of course, with emphasis on every other word that he spoke.’
      • ‘The relative lack of emphasis on the ending sounds of words in Spanish may be a factor as well.’
      • ‘Kylie repeated her words with special emphasis, as if talking to a very slow person.’
      • ‘"I think you have the emphasis on the wrong syllable, " Madi remarked.’
      • ‘His emphasis on the word protector made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.’
      • ‘I put plenty of emphasis on the word to make sure he understood what I was trying to say.’
      • ‘I put emphasis on the word fun, twisting it so that it sounded chiding and sarcastic.’
      • ‘Her emphasis on the word me expressed how she truly thought she was superior to others.’
      stress, accent, accentuation, weight, force, prominence
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    2. 1.2 Vigor or intensity of expression.
      ‘he spoke with emphasis and with complete conviction’
      • ‘He leaned forward in his chair again to give his words more emphasis.’
      • ‘Bob manages to make very obvious things sound like genius by stressing his words and using his arms for emphasis.’
      passion, force, forcefulness, ardour, fervour, spirit, spiritedness, urgency, strength, forcibleness, vigour, intensity, violence, earnestness, eagerness, keenness, enthusiasm, zeal, zealousness, fanaticism
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Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek, originally ‘appearance, show’, later denoting a figure of speech in which more is implied than is said (the original sense in English), from emphainein ‘exhibit’, from em- ‘in, within’ + phainein ‘to show’.