The MHRA Style Guide Online
A Handbook for Authors and Editors • Third Edition
From Chapter 7, 'Italics'
Avoid the use of italics for rhetorical emphasis. Any word or phrase individually discussed should, however, be in italics, and any interpretation of it in single quotation marks:
He glosses pale as ‘fenced land, park’.
It may also be desirable to use italics to distinguish one word or phrase from another, as, for example, in ‘23 April not 23rd April’.