What does accident mean?

Definitions for accident
ˈæk sɪ dəntac·ci·dent

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word accident.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. accidentnoun

    an unfortunate mishap; especially one causing damage or injury

  2. accident, stroke, fortuity, chance eventnoun

    anything that happens suddenly or by chance without an apparent cause

    "winning the lottery was a happy accident"; "the pregnancy was a stroke of bad luck"; "it was due to an accident or fortuity"


  1. accidentnoun

    An unexpected event with negative consequences occurring without the intention of the one suffering the consequences.

    to die by an accident

  2. accidentnoun

    Any chance event.

  3. accidentnoun


  4. accidentnoun

    An unintended event such as a collision that causes damage or death.

  5. accidentnoun

    Any property, fact, or relation that is the result of chance or is nonessential.

    Beauty is an accident.

  6. accidentnoun

    An instance of incontinence.

  7. accidentnoun

    An unintended pregnancy.

  8. accidentnoun

    A quality or attribute in distinction from the substance, as sweetness, softness.

  9. accidentnoun

    A property attached to a word, but not essential to it, as gender, number, case.

  10. accidentnoun

    An irregular surface feature with no apparent cause.

  11. accidentnoun

    A point or mark which may be retained or omitted in a coat of arms.

  12. accidentnoun

    casus; such unforeseen, extraordinary, extraneous interference as is out of the range of ordinary calculation.

  13. accidentnoun

    An unplanned event that results in injury (including death) or occupational illness to person(s) and/or damage to property, exclusive of injury and/or damage caused by action of an enemy or hostile force.

  14. accidentnoun

    Appearance, manifestation.

  15. Etymology: * First attested in the late 14th century.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. ACCIDENTnoun

    Etymology: accidens, Lat.

    If she were but the body’s accident,
    And her sole being did in it subsist,
    As white in snow, she might herself absent,
    And in the body’s substance not be miss’d. John Davies.

    An accidental mode, or an accident, is such a mode as is not necessary to the being of a thing; for the subject may be without it, and yet remain of the same nature that it was before; or it is that mode which may be separated or abolished from its subject. Isaac Watts, Logick.

    The learning of a language is nothing else but the informing of ourselves, what composures of letters are, by consent and institution, to signify such certain notions of things, with their modalities and accidents. William Holder, Elements of Speech.

    General laws are like general rules in physic, according whereunto, as no wise man will desire himself to be cured, if there be joined with his disease some special accident, in regard whereof, that whereby others in the same infirmity, but without the like accident, recover health, would be, to him, either hurtful, or, at the least, unprofitable. Richard Hooker, b. v. § 9.

    The flood, and other accidents of time, made it one common field and pasture with the land of Eden. Walter Raleigh, Hist. World.

    Thus we rejoic’d, but soon our joy is turn’d
    Into perplexity, and new amaze;
    For whither is he gone? What accident
    Hath rapt him from us? Paradise Regained, b. i.

    And trivial accidents shall be forborn,
    That others may have time to take their turn. John Dryden, Fables.

    The reformation owed nothing to the good intentions of king Henry. He was only an instrument of it (as the logicians speak) by accident. Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Accidentnoun

    literally, a befalling; an event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event; chance; contingency; often, an undesigned and unforeseen occurrence of an afflictive or unfortunate character; a casualty; a mishap; as, to die by an accident

  2. Accidentnoun

    a property attached to a word, but not essential to it, as gender, number, case

  3. Accidentnoun

    a point or mark which may be retained or omitted in a coat of arms

  4. Accidentnoun

    a property or quality of a thing which is not essential to it, as whiteness in paper; an attribute

  5. Accidentnoun

    a quality or attribute in distinction from the substance, as sweetness, softness

  6. Accidentnoun

    any accidental property, fact, or relation; an accidental or nonessential; as, beauty is an accident

  7. Accidentnoun

    unusual appearance or effect

  8. Etymology: [F. accident, fr. L. accidens, -dentis, p. pr. of accidere to happen; ad + cadere to fall. See Cadence, Case.]


  1. Accident

    An accident or mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It usually implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence. Experts in the field of injury prevention avoid use of the term 'accident' to describe events that cause injury in an attempt to highlight the predictable and preventable nature of most injuries. Such incidents are viewed from the perspective of epidemiology as predictable and preventable. Preferred words are more descriptive of the event itself, rather than of its unintended nature Accidents of particularly common types are investigated to identify how to avoid them in the future. This is sometimes called root cause analysis, but does not generally apply to accidents that cannot be deterministically predicted. A root cause of an uncommon and purely random accident may never be identified, and thus future similar accidents remain "accidental."

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Accident

    ak′sid-ent, n. that which happens: an unforeseen or unexpected event: chance: an unessential quality or property.—adj. Accident′al, happening by chance: not essential.—n. anything not essential.—ns. Accident′alism, Accidental′ity.—adv. Accident′ally.—The chapter of accidents, the unforeseen course of events. [L. accidĕre, to happen—ad, to, cadĕre, to fall.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A condition of affairs in which presence of mind is good, but absence of body better.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'accident' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1651

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'accident' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1488

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'accident' in Nouns Frequency: #571

How to pronounce accident?

How to say accident in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of accident in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of accident in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of accident in a Sentence

  1. Claude Arnold:

    Defenders of sanctuary policies say they protect immigrants from deportation and reduce illegal immigrants ’ fear of cops. But critics, including Homeland Security Department officials say releasing illegal immigrant criminals inside the U.S. is dangerous. Claude Arnold, a retired U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, said sanctuary advocates claim immigration enforcement is the exclusive responsibility of the federal government, however enacting laws like the California Trust Act, which dictates how the federal government can enforce the law, contradicts those claims and can be devastating consequences. The murder of 32-year-old Kathlene Steinle’s in June 2015 by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, is a prime example, Claude Arnold said. Steinle was shot dead while strolling on San Francisco’s Embarcadero with her father. The alleged shooter, a felon and five-time deportee, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges, claiming the shooting was an accident. Those responsible for releasing him not long before the shooting despite a federal request to detain him for deportation should also have consequences, Claude Arnold said. When sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco County release criminals that officials know are in the U.S. illegally, and those criminals commit heinous crimes, those responsible should be federally prosecuted.

  2. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

    Sometimes it's just a pure accident, and that's what this occurs to be, just a pure accident.

  3. New Zealander Hartley:

    I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication, the team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of turn 14 like I did at the start of the race.

  4. William A. Foster:

    Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

  5. Hazlitt:

    Vulgar prejudices are those which arise out of accident, ignorance, or authority; natural prejudices are those which arise out of the constitution of the human mind itself.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for accident

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