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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The 4-year-old boy who died Thursday from a fatal gunshot wound suffered at a Kissimmee home accidently shot himself with a handgun, according to court records. Christopher Cann, Orlando Sentinel, 11 Mar. 2023 The second is that the virus was accidently released by researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a scientific lab a few miles from the wet market. Staff Reports, USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2023 In this scenario, researchers who were studying the SARS-CoV2 virus or one similar to it, accidently infected themselves, passing it on to others. Staff Reports, USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2023 Capitol Police officers accidently left several guns in bathrooms throughout the building in 2015 and 2019; in one instance, the loaded firearm was discovered by a small child. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, 14 Jan. 2021 Tatum returned to the lineup after playing just 21 minutes in Game 2 because he was accidently poked in the right eye by Durant. Ken Powtak, ajc, 29 May 2021 The infection can be contracted by accidently ingesting cat feces particles (such as from cleaning a litter box) or eating raw meat, according to the CDC. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, 25 July 2018 But the analysts said it is rarely prosecuted, if only because of the difficulty in proving that a perpetrator acted intentionally instead of accidently., 7 Sep. 2021 Unfortunately Lydia accidently gets the strength formula. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, 9 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accidently.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 30 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on accidently

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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