Meaning of ACCENT in English


I. ˈakˌsent, Brit usually -_sənt noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French, from Latin accentus (translation of Greek prosōidia ), from ad- + -centus (from cantus song, from cantus, past participle of canere to sing) — more at chant , prosody

1. : a distinctive manner of usually oral expression: as

a. : the inflection, tone, or choice of words associated with a particular situation, event, emotion, or attitude or taken to be unique in or highly characteristic of an individual — usually used in plural

the authoritative accents of a ruling class — Time

I knew Heathcliff's accents — Emily Brontë

b. : speech habits typical of the natives or residents of a region or of any other group (as social, professional, or business)

a heavy foreign accent

a southern accent

the staccato accent of a circus barker


a. : an articulative effort (as an increase of stress or a change of pitch) giving prominence to one syllable of a word or group of words over adjacent syllables

b. : the prominence given a syllable through the use of accent

3. : rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse usually at approximately regular intervals : ictus

4. archaic : a word or group of words : utterance


a. : a mark (as ´, `, ˆ) used in writing or printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel should be pronounced ; broadly : any mark, point, or sign used with a letter whether functional or not — see acute , circumflex , grave ; compare diacritic

b. : a letter with a diacritical mark (as é, ç, ä, ñ) — a printers' term; compare piece accent

c. : a letter not used in the ordinary alphabet — a printers' term


a. : greater stress or emphasis given to one musical tone than to its neighbors

b. : the principle of regularly recurring stresses which serve to distribute a succession of pulses into equal groups or measures — called also grammatical accent

c. : special emphasis placed exceptionally upon tones not subject to grammatical accent — called also rhetorical accent

d. : the rhythmical principle of grammatical accent operating over such longer spans of time as to mark alternate strong and weak measures or phrase relationships — called also rhythmical accent

e. : accent mark 2


a. : emphasis laid on a part of an artistic design or composition

b. : a detail or area emphasized : a striking detail ; especially : a small detail in sharp contrast with its surroundings (as in color or texture)

c. : a substance or object used for emphasis

a plant used for accent in a landscape design

8. : a mark placed to the right of a letter or number and usually slightly above it:

a. : a mark used singly with letters to distinguish either different mathematical variables (as x and x ′) or singly, doubly, and triply to distinguish different values of the same variable (as y ′ and y ″) — compare double prime , prime

b. : a mark used singly with numbers to denote minutes and doubly to denote seconds of time (as a 4′3″ interval) or to denote minutes and seconds of an angle or arc

c. : a mark used singly with numbers to denote feet and doubly to denote inches (as 6′3″ tall)

9. : any distinguishing characteristic or individualizing stamp

his peculiar accent of wistful naïveté — Edmund Wilson

10. : attribution of special importance : special concern or attention : emphasis — usually used with on

the accent on air power in the defense program

II. ˈakˌsent,  ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷ transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle French accenter, from accent, n.


a. : to utter (as a syllable) with accent : stress

accenting the first syllable of each word he spoke

b. : to mark with a written or printed accent

each word of the list was neatly accented with a typed stress mark

2. archaic : to give voice to : articulate , utter , speak

sounds accented by a thousand voices — Sir Walter Scott


a. : to give prominence to or increase the prominence of : make more emphatic, noticeable, or distinct

columns accent the vertical lines of the building

: heighten in effect (as by contrast) : bring out : set off

a background of mountains accents the quiet beauty of the landscape

: increase in degree : intensify , sharpen

hostility that was accented by inbred antagonism

b. : to make of special interest or concern : give special attention to : emphasize

a defense program accents air power

accents the practical utility of science — Frank Thilly

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.