Definition of accident
1a : an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance Their meeting was an accident.b : lack of intention or necessity : chance They met by accident rather than by design.
2a : an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance was involved in a traffic accidentb medical : an unexpected and medically important bodily event especially when injurious a cerebrovascular accidentc law : an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be soughtd US, informal —used euphemistically to refer to an uncontrolled or involuntary act or instance of urination or defecation (as by a baby or a pet) The puppy had an accident on the rug.
3 : a nonessential property or quality of an entity or circumstance the accident of nationality
accident was our Word of the Day on 05/15/2012. Hear the podcast!
Examples of accident in a Sentence
He was injured in an accident at work.
The accident happened when her car slid on a patch of ice.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident.
Their meeting was an accident.
She says that her pregnancy was an accident.
Did You Know?
Accident is just one of many words in the English language to come down to us from the Latin verb cadere, meaning "to fall." Among the others are "deciduous" (an adjective used to describe something, such as leaves, which fall off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of development in the life cycle), "cascade" (which can mean, among other things, "a steep fall of water" or "something falling or rushing forth"),"cadence" ("a falling inflection of the voice"), and "decay" ("to fall into ruin"). "Chance," which functions as a synonym of "accident" in one sense, is also a "cadere" descendant.
Origin and Etymology of accident
Middle English, “happening, nonessential property, diseased condition, disturbance (of the mind),” borrowed from Anglo-French, “irregularity, incident, symptom,” borrowed from Latin accident-, accidens “chance event, contingent attribute” (translating Greek symbebēkós), from present participle of accidere “to fall down, impinge on, be heard, happen,” from ad- ad- + cadere “to fall” — more at 1chance
First Known Use: 14th century
ACCIDENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of accident for English Language Learners
: a sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury
: an event that is not planned or intended : an event that occurs by chance
ACCIDENT Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of accident
1: an unfortunate event resulting from carelessness, unawareness, ignorance, or a combination of causes
2: an unexpected bodily event of medical importance especially when injurious a cerebrovascular accident
3: an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought
Legal Definition of accident
: an unexpected usually sudden event that occurs without intent or volition although sometimes through carelessness, unawareness, ignorance, or a combination of causes and that produces an unfortunate result (as an injury) for which the affected party may be entitled to relief under the law or to compensation under an insurance policy — see also unavoidable accident
Additional Notes on accident
The term accident has been held to include intentional acts (such as an assault and battery) under workers' compensation laws.
Seen and Heard
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