Pronunciation: ( —n.ak'sent; —v.ak'sent, ak-sent'),[key] —n. 1. prominence of a syllable in terms of differential loudness, or of pitch, or length, or of a combination of these.
2. degree of prominence of a syllable within a word and sometimes of a word within a phrase: primary accent; secondary accent. 3. a mark indicating stress (as ', ", or ´, ´´, or ', "), vowel quality (as French grave `, acute ´, circumflex ^ ), form (as French la “the” versus là “there”), or pitch.
4. any similar mark.
5. Pros. a. regularly recurring stress.
b. a mark indicating stress or some other distinction in pronunciation or value.
6. a musical tone or pattern of pitch inherent in a particular language either as a feature essential to the identification of a vowel or a syllable or to the general acoustic character of the language. Cf. tone (def. 7).
7. Often, accents. a. the unique speech patterns, inflections, choice of words, etc., that identify a particular individual: We recognized his accents immediately. She corrected me in her usual mild accents. b. the distinctive style or tone characteristic of an author, composer, etc.: the unmistakably Brahmsian accents of the sonata; She recognized the familiar accents of Robert Frost in the poem. 8. a mode of pronunciation, as pitch or tone, emphasis pattern, or intonation, characteristic of or peculiar to the speech of a particular person, group, or locality: French accent; Southern accent. Cf. tone (def. 5).
9. such a mode of pronunciation recognized as being of foreign origin: He still speaks with an accent. 10. Music. a. a stress or emphasis given to certain notes.
b. a mark noting this.
c. stress or emphasis regularly recurring as a feature of rhythm.
11. Math. a. a symbol used to distinguish similar quantities that differ in value, as in b', b", bt' (called b prime, b second or b double prime, b third or b triple prime, respectively).
b. a symbol used to indicate a particular unit of measure, as feet (') or inches ("), minutes (') or seconds (").
c. a symbol used to indicate the order of a derivative of a function in calculus, as f' (called f prime) is the first derivative of a function f. 12. words or tones expressive of some emotion.
13. accents,words; language; speech: He spoke in accents bold. 14. distinctive character or tone: an accent of whining complaint. 15. special attention, stress, or emphasis: an accent on accuracy. 16. a detail that is emphasized by contrasting with its surroundings: a room decorated in navy blue with two red vases as accents. 17. a distinctive but subordinate pattern, motif, color, flavor, or the like: The salad dressing had an accent of garlic.
—v.t. 1. to pronounce with prominence (a syllable within a word or a word within a phrase): to accent the first syllable of “into”; to accent the first word of “White House.” 2. to mark with a written accent or accents.
3. to give emphasis or prominence to; accentuate.