While the emphasis, or main focus, for walking a dog might be on "answering the call of nature," the emphasis for the dog might be on chasing squirrels.

If you say emphasis a little louder or with extra oomph in your pronunciation, you are putting emphasis on the word. This emphasis makes it clear that special attention, or emphasis, should be given to the word. Now, having repeated emphasis so many times, the "s" sound really stands out, sort of like in the word "stress." When you stress a point, you put emphasis on something — it is the main thing, the emphasis.

Definitions of emphasis
  1. noun
    intensity or forcefulness of expression
    “his emphasis on civil rights”
    synonyms: vehemence
    see moresee less
    too much emphasis
    type of:
    intensity, intensiveness
    high level or degree; the property of being intense
  2. noun
    special importance or significance
    “the red light gave the central figure increased emphasis
    synonyms: accent
    see moresee less
    focus, stress
    special emphasis attached to something
    type of:
    grandness, importance
    a prominent status
  3. noun
    special and significant stress by means of position or repetition
    see moresee less
    (linguistics) emphasis placed on the topic or focus of a sentence by preposing it to the beginning of the sentence; placing the topic at the beginning of the sentence is typical for English
    type of:
    rhetorical device
    a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
  4. noun
    the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch)
    synonyms: accent, stress
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    the use or application of an accent; the relative prominence of syllables in a phrase or utterance
    pitch accent, tonic accent
    emphasis that results from pitch rather than loudness
    word accent, word stress
    the distribution of stresses within a polysyllabic word
    sentence stress
    the distribution of stresses within a sentence
    type of:
    inflection, prosody
    the patterns of stress and intonation in a language
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week