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[ak-sen-choo-eyt] /ækˈsɛn tʃuˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), accentuated, accentuating.
to give emphasis or prominence to.
to mark or pronounce with an accent.
Origin of accentuate
1725-35; < Medieval Latin accentuātus intoned (past participle of accentuāre). See accent, -ate1
Related forms
overaccentuate, verb (used with object), overaccentuated, overaccentuating.
reaccentuate, verb (used with object), reaccentuated, reaccentuating.
unaccentuated, adjective
well-accentuated, adjective
Can be confused
accent, accentuate, assent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for accentuate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Though Ruth was very much annoyed, the incident seemingly served to accentuate Winfield's enjoyment.

    Lavender and Old Lace Myrtle Reed
  • A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • He might want to emphasize a long, low room by horizontal lines, or to accentuate a lofty one by verticals.

    Line and Form (1900) Walter Crane
  • But this only appeared to accentuate the profound stillness.

  • They were called from their cells merely to accentuate his disgrace.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921 Thomas J. Campbell
British Dictionary definitions for accentuate


(transitive) to stress or emphasize
Derived Forms
accentuation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for accentuate

1731, from Medieval Latin accentuatus, past participle of accentuare "to accent," from Latin accentus (see accent (n.)). Originally "to pronounce with an accent;" meaning "emphasize" is recorded from 1865.

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

["Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," 1944, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer]
Related: Accentuated; accentuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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