The nouns disaster and calamity both refer to adverse happenings, especially ones that are sudden and unexpected. A disaster is an event that causes great loss of life, damage, or hardship, such as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure. A calamity is a great misfortune or disaster, but this term emphasizes the grief or sorrow caused by such an event. Calamity is also used to refer to misery itself, or a state of pain and distress, as in “a year of calamity.”
Lend us your ears, synonym sleuths, because today we expose the difference between the verbs listen and eavesdrop. To listen is to give attention with the ear, or to attend closely for the purpose of hearing. No surprises there. To eavesdrop is to listen secretly to a private conversation, a far stealthier proposition. But what on earth is an eave and why is it dropping? Eavesdrop is a back formation of the noun eavesdropper, a person who stands on the eavesdrop—the ground on which water from the eaves (the overhanging of a roof) falls—in order to listen to conversations inside the house.
To emphasize something is to give importance to it or to lay stress upon it. If you emphasize a particular point in an argument, then you devote extra time or attention to it—or maybe you reiterate it several times—so as to convey its value or significance. The verb accentuate is very close in meaning, at least in terms of its definition. But it is used slightly differently: to accentuate something is to make it more visible or to draw attention to it. If a news story, for instance, accentuates the differences between two candidates for office, it makes those points of divergence very apparent. The shorter verb accent is the preferred term for when you’re talking about pronunciation, e.g., accent the first syllable of "into," or accent the first word of “White House.”