noun in·ci·dent \ˈin(t)-sə-dənt, -ˌdent\

: an unexpected and usually unpleasant thing that happens

: an event or disagreement that is likely to cause serious problems in relations between countries

Full Definition of INCIDENT

:  something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance
a :  an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience :  happening
b :  an accompanying minor occurrence or condition :  concomitant
:  an action likely to lead to grave consequences especially in diplomatic matters <a serious border incident>

Examples of INCIDENT

  1. We just want to put that embarrassing incident behind us.
  2. Two people were shot yesterday in two separate incidents.
  3. Aside from a few isolated incidents, the crowd was well-behaved.
  4. Many such incidents go unreported.
  5. The bombing caused an international incident.

Origin of INCIDENT

Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin incident-, incidens, from Latin, present participle of incidere to fall into, from in- + cadere to fall — more at chance
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of INCIDENT

occurrence, event, incident, episode, circumstance mean something that happens or takes place. occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan <an encounter that was a chance occurrence>. event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause <the events following the assassination>. incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance <a minor wartime incident>. episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident <a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work>. circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background <couldn't recall the exact circumstances>.



Definition of INCIDENT

:  occurring or likely to occur especially as a minor consequence or accompaniment <the confusion incident to moving day>
:  dependent on or relating to another thing in law
:  falling or striking on something <incident light rays>

First Known Use of INCIDENT

15th century
INCIDENT Defined for Kids


noun in·ci·dent \ˈin-sə-dənt\

Definition of INCIDENT for Kids

:  an often unimportant happening that may form a part of a larger event

Synonym Discussion of INCIDENT

incident, occurrence, and event mean something that happens. incident is used for something that is brief and unimportant. <Except for one incident, the trip was fun.> occurrence may be used for something that is not planned or expected. <Such occurrences can't be predicted.> event is often used of something that is important. <They discussed the big events of last year.>
Medical Dictionary


adjective in·ci·dent \ˈin(t)-səd-ənt, -sə-ˌdent\

Medical Definition of INCIDENT

:  falling or striking on something <incident light rays> <incident radiation>


Next Word in the Dictionary: incidental (adjective)Previous Word in the Dictionary: incidencyAll Words Near: incident
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears