ac·​ci·​dence | \ ˈak-sə-dən(t)s How to pronounce accidence (audio) , -ˌden(t)s \

Definition of accidence

: a part of grammar that deals with inflections (see inflection sense 2a) Inflectional morphology studies the way in which words vary (or "in-flect"), in order to express grammatical contrasts in sentences, such as singular/plural or past/present tense. In older grammar books, this branch of the subject was referred to as "accidence."— David Crystal Grammar has become that branch of linguistics that deals with a language's inflexions (accidence), other structures of words (morphology), its phonetics system (phonology), and the arrangement of its words in sentences (syntax).— Philip Howard

First Known Use of accidence

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accidence

Middle English accidens "set of grammatical endings," borrowed from Late Latin accidentia "categories applicable to a word class (such as gender, number, and case for nouns)," from neuter plural of Latin accident-, accidens "contingent attribute" — more at accident

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The first known use of accidence was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Accidence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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