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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Medieval Latin emergentia, from Latin emergens, present participle of emergo, equivalent to emergent +‎ -cy or emerge +‎ -ency. Doublet of emergence.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /iˈmɜː(ɹ).dʒən.si/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪˈmɝ.d͡ʒən.si/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: e‧mer‧gen‧cy
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)dʒənsi


emergency (plural emergencies)

  1. A situation which poses an immediate risk and which requires urgent attention.
    Cardiac arrest is an emergency and if you find someone in cardiac arrest you should call 999 immediately.
  2. The department of a hospital that treats emergencies.
  3. An individual brought in at short notice to replace a member of staff, a player in a sporting team, etc.
  4. (attributive) Arising from or used in an emergency.
    • 2021 December 29, Dominique Louis, “Causal analysis: crashworthiness at Sandilands”, in RAIL, number 947, page 33:
      We also found that the only emergency egress from the tram was by smashing the front or rear windscreens, and that emergency lighting had failed when the tram overturned.
  5. (archaic) The quality of being emergent; sudden or unexpected appearance; an unforeseen occurrence.


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