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

Simple Definition of incident

  • : 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

  1. 1 :  something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance

  2. 2 a :  an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience :  happening b :  an accompanying minor occurrence or condition :  concomitant

  3. 3 :  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>.



adjective in·ci·dent

Definition of incident

  1. 1 :  occurring or likely to occur especially as a minor consequence or accompaniment <the confusion incident to moving day>

  2. 2 :  dependent on or relating to another thing in law

  3. 3 :  falling or striking on something <incident light rays>

15th Century

First Known Use of incident

15th century

INCIDENT Defined for Kids


noun in·ci·dent \ˈin-sə-dənt\

Definition of incident

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

Medical Dictionary


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

Medical Definition of incident

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

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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