noun, plural emphases [em-fuh-seez] .
special stress laid upon, or importance attached to, anything: The president's statement gave emphasis to the budgetary crisis.
something that is given great stress or importance: Morality was the emphasis of his speech.
special and significant stress of voice laid on particular words or syllables.
stress laid on particular words, by means of position, repetition, or other indication.
intensity or force of expression, action, etc.: Determination lent emphasis to his proposals.
prominence, as of form or outline: The background detracts from the emphasis of the figure.
Electronics. preemphasis.

1565–75; < Latin < Greek émphasis indication, equivalent to em- em-2 + phásis phasis

misemphasis, noun, plural misemphases.
reemphasis, noun, plural reemphases.
superemphasis, noun, plural superemphases. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
emphasis (ˈɛmfəsɪs)
n , pl -ses
1.  special importance or significance
2.  an object, idea, etc, that is given special importance or significance
3.  stress made to fall on a particular syllable, word, or phrase in speaking
4.  force or intensity of expression: he spoke with special emphasis on the subject of civil rights
5.  sharpness or clarity of form or outline: the sunlight gave emphasis to the shape of the mountain
[C16: via Latin from Greek: meaning, (in rhetoric) significant stress; see emphatic]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1570s, from L. emphasis, from Gk. emphasis "significance, indirect meaning," from empha-, root of emphainein "to present, show, indicate," from en- "in" + phainein "to show" (see phantasm). In Greek and Latin, developed a sense of "extra stress" given to a word or phrase
in speech as a clue that it implies something more than literal meaning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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