Etymology
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accent (v.)
Origin and meaning of accent

"pronounce with accent or stress," 1520s, from French accenter, from Old French acenter "accentuate, stress," from acent (see accent (n.)). The meaning "mark with an accent sign" is from 1660s (implied in accented); the figurative sense of "mark emphatically" is by 1650s. Related: Accenting.

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accent (n.)
Origin and meaning of accent

late 14c., "particular mode of pronunciation," from Old French acent "accent" (13c.), from Latin accentus "song added to speech," from ad "to" (see ad-) + cantus "a singing," past participle of canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing").

The Latin word was a loan-translation of Greek prosōidia, from pros- "to" + ōidē "song," which apparently described the pitch scheme in Greek verse.

The meaning "effort in utterance making one syllable stronger than another in pitch or stress" is attested from 1580s; as "mark or character used in writing to indicate accent," it is recorded by 1590s. The decorative-arts sense of "something that emphasizes or highlights" is from 1972.

The soundest distinction perhaps is that "accent" refers to the habitual stress laid on a syllable in ordinary pronunciation ; "stress" to a syllable specially accented for this or that reason, logical, rhetorical, or prosodic purely. [George Saintsbury, "Historical Manual of English Prosody," 1914]
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unaccented (adj.)

1590s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of accent (v.).

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accentual (adj.)

"pertaining to accent," c. 1600, from Latin accentus (see accent (n.)) + -al (1). Related: Accentually; accentuality.

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*kan- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sing."

It forms all or part of: accent; cant (n.1); cantabile; cantata; cantatrice; canticle; canto; cantor; canzone; Carmen; chanson; chant; chanter; chanteuse; chanty; chanticleer; charm; concent; descant; enchant; enchantment; hen; incantation; incentive; oscine; precentor; recant.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek eikanos "cock," literally "bird who sings (for sunrise);" Latin cantare, canere "to sing;" Old Irish caniaid "sings," Welsh canu "sing;" Old English hana "cock."

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accentuate (v.)

1731, "pronounce with an accent," from Medieval Latin accentuatus, past participle of accentuare "to accent," from Latin accentus "song added to speech," from ad "to" (see ad-) + cantus "a singing," past participle of canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). Figurative meaning "emphasize, place an accent or emphasis on" 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.

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accentuation (n.)
Origin and meaning of accentuation

1690s, from Medieval Latin accentuationem (nominative accentuatio) "intoning, chanting," noun of action from past-participle stem of accentuare "to accent," from Latin accentus "song added to speech," from ad "to" (see ad-) + cantus "a singing," past participle of canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing").

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prosody (n.)

late 15c., prosodie, "the science or craft of versification, the knowledge of the quantities of syllables in poetry and their pronunciation," from Latin prosodia "accent of a syllable," from Greek prosōidia "song sung to music," also "accent mark; modulation of voice," etymologically "a singing in addition to," from pros "to, forward, near" (see pros-) + ōidē "song, poem" (see ode). Related: Prosodiacal; prosodial; prosodist.

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proclitic (adj.)

in Greek grammar, "dependent in accent upon the following word," 1846, from Medieval Latin procliticus, formed on analogy of encliticus from Greek proklinein "to lean forward," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + klinein "to lean" (from PIE root *klei- "to lean"). As a noun, "monosyllabic word so closely attached to the word following as to have no accent" (1864).

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process (v.2)

"to go in procession," 1814, "A colloquial or humorous back-formation" from procession [OED]. Accent on second syllable. The earlier verb was procession (1540s).

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