ac·​ci·​dent·​ly ˌak-sə-ˈdent-lē How to pronounce accidently (audio)
: accidentally
Law enforcement officials said that an unattended candle accidently lit her living room couch on fire.Paul Chi
He was turning out of the gateway when he accidently stumbled against a tall man wrapped in a cloak, who was at that moment coming out of the inn door.Charles Dickens
Usage of Accidently

The adverb accidently has been in use since the 18th century. It continues to appear regularly in published writing, but it is far less common than accidentally, and it is sometimes cited as an error.

Examples of accidently in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those with relatively low counts—and the animals—likely consumed it accidently as cinnabar seeped into the soils and environment. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Mar. 2024 Hawkeyes star guard Caitlin Clark had a scary moment after the game when she accidently was run into by a fan who was storming the court to celebrate. Doug Feinberg, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2024 The contents accidently spilled onto his young daughter. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2023 In another instance of a child getting a hold of a gun inside a home, a six-year-old was accidently shot in the head by a nine-year-old on Monday afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida. Scott Butler, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2023 July 11 - Protect Our Constitution, the pro-Issue 1 group, accidently mails outdated absentee ballot applications in a mailing targeting sympathetic Republican voters. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 24 July 2023 Cleveland Guardians May 23 Guardians outfielder accidentally kills bird with second-inning single: ‘An unfortunate sacrifice’ Cleveland Guardians outfielder Will Brennan accidently struck and killed a bird sitting on the infield on a single to the left side of the field. Fox News, 9 June 2023 Allan Hammons, president of Hammons and Associates, which manages the Freedom Trail, said a large vehicle like a tractor-trailer likely accidently knocked the marker from its post. From Usa Today Network and Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 No one was struck by gunfire in the April 15 shooting, but a state prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the incident – the latest in a spate of similar shootings across the nation in which people have accidently turned onto the wrong property or gotten in the wrong vehicle. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accidently.' 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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of accidently was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near accidently

Cite this Entry

“Accidently.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

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