ac·​ci·​dent·​al·​ly ˌak-sə-ˈdent-lē How to pronounce accidentally (audio) -ˈden-tᵊl-ē How to pronounce accidentally (audio)
: in an accidental or unintended manner : by accident
I accidentally deleted the file.
The lock prevents the gate from opening accidentally.
Six lionfish were accidentally released from a home aquarium in Biscayne Bay, Fla., during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.Alcestis Cooky Oberg
The Olympic test was thrown out after the test lab accidentally destroyed the backup sample … that's required to confirm a positive result.Christie Aschwanden
He bumped into her accidentally on purpose. [=he bumped into her intentionally but he tried to make it appear to be an accident]

Examples of accidentally in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The emotions became characters, primarily Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), who accidentally disrupt the transmission of core memories in the factory-like system of Riley’s brain. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 Sign up » Cull of the Wild by Hugh Warwick (Bloomsbury Wildlife) Nonfiction If people, either intentionally or accidentally, have altered the natural world to favor one species over another, do people then have an obligation to undo the damage? The New Yorker, 12 June 2024 Blood stains where bed bugs have been accidentally crushed (sorry, not sorry). John Tufts, The Courier-Journal, 12 June 2024 When it gets accidentally released, things get really bad. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 11 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for accidentally 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accidentally.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of accidentally was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near accidentally

Cite this Entry

“Accidentally.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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