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 / adjective
– 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’.