Accent vs accentuate

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To accent something is to emphasize it or put it at the forefront. In pronunciation it also means putting more emphasis or force on one syllable.

As a noun, accent means the way a certain group of people talk that is attributed to where they live. It also describes the syllable in a word which is said with greater emphasis (e.g., the accent is on the second syllable). The noun form may also describe the mark above certain characters from other languages, such as the tilde, ˜. However, this are most commonly referred to as accent marks.

It has one adjective form which is also an antonym, accentless, which means without force.

Accentuate is a synonym of accent, but does not carry all of accent’s varied definitions. To accentuate something means to give it attention or call someone else’s attention to the object, subject, or person.

Its noun form is accentuation, and it conjugates as a normal verb with accentuated and accentuating.


“We went with all white flowers accented by driftwood, orchids, coral and shells as table setting to reflect the beachy vibe,” she explained about the decor. [Vogue Australia]

For designer Betsy Stires, accent chairs are a decorating treat. [Boston Globe]

It’s as if, in their faintly accented but ultimately accentless tones, they inadvertently comment on what England has become: a nation of service industries, insurance providers, financial advisers. [The Guardian]

Instead, it is most likely that the outcome will be a continuation, or even accentuation, of current Israeli policy. [CNN]