emergency

When there's an emergency, the stakes are high and you may need to act quickly. There's a tornado! Someone's collapsed! The cat's stuck in a tree! It's an emergency! Call 911!

You can see the word emerge in emergency, and an emergency suddenly emerges — it happens all of a sudden and can take you by surprise. Governments declare a "state of emergency" if there is a disaster that they can't handle, and they need support. If you hear sirens and see flashing lights, there's probably an emergency . . . unless you're in a dance club.

Definitions of emergency
  1. noun
    a sudden unforeseen crisis (usually involving danger) that requires immediate action
    “he never knew what to do in an emergency
    synonyms: exigency, pinch
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    type of:
    crisis
    a crucial stage or turning point in the course of something
  2. noun
    a state in which martial law applies
    “the governor declared a state of emergency
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    type of:
    temporary state
    a state that continues for a limited time
  3. noun
    a brake operated by hand; usually operates by mechanical linkage
    synonyms: emergency brake, hand brake, parking brake
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    type of:
    brake
    a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle
Word Family