Etymology
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emphasis (n.)

1570s, "intensity of expression," from Latin emphasis, from Greek emphasis "an appearing in, outward appearance;" in rhetoric, "significance, indirect meaning," from emphainein "to present, exhibit, display, let (a thing) be seen; be reflected (in a mirror), become visible," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + phainein "to show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine").

In Greek and Latin, originally a figure of expression implying, in context, more than would ordinarily be meant by the words. Hence "the mode of delivery appropriate to suggestive expression, rhetorical stress," and thence, in general, extra stress or force of voice given to the utterance of a word, phrase, or part of a word in speech as a clue that it implies something more than literal meaning. In pure Latin, significatio.

updated on September 13, 2020

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Definitions of emphasis from WordNet

emphasis (n.)
special importance or significance;
the red light gave the central figure increased emphasis
Synonyms: accent
emphasis (n.)
intensity or forcefulness of expression;
his emphasis on civil rights
Synonyms: vehemence
emphasis (n.)
special and significant stress by means of position or repetition e.g.;
emphasis (n.)
the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch);
Synonyms: stress / accent
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.