I. noun accent /ˈaks(ə)nt, ˈaksɛnt /

1. a distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class

a strong American accent.
she never mastered the French accent.
2. a distinct emphasis given to a syllable or word in speech by stress or pitch.

the accent falls on the middle syllable.
3. a mark on a letter, typically a vowel, to indicate pitch, stress, or vowel quality

a circumflex accent.
[Music] an emphasis on a particular note or chord.

short fortissimo accents.
5. [in sing.] a special or particular emphasis

the accent is on participation.
6. a feature which gives a distinctive visual emphasis to something.

blue woodwork and accents of red.
II. verb [with obj.] accent /akˈsɛnt /

1. emphasize (a particular feature)

fabrics which accent the background colours in the room.
[Music] play (a note or beat) with emphasis.

the quick tempo means there is less scope for accenting offbeat notes.
III. derivatives

accentual /akˈsɛn(t)ʃʊəl /

– origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘intonation’): from Latin accentus ‘tone, signal, or intensity’ (from ad- ‘to’ + cantus ‘song’), translating Greek prosōidia ‘a song sung to music, intonation’.

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