incident

noun
in·​ci·​dent | \ˈin(t)-sə-dənt, -ˌdent\

Definition of incident 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance

2a : an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience : happening

b : an accompanying minor occurrence or condition : concomitant

3 : an action likely to lead to grave consequences especially in diplomatic matters a serious border incident

incident

adjective

Definition of incident (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : occurring or likely to occur especially as a minor consequence or accompaniment the confusion incident to moving day

2 : dependent on or relating to another thing in law

3 : falling or striking on something incident light rays

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Choose the Right Synonym for incident

Noun

occurrence, event, incident, episode, circumstance mean something that happens or takes place. occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan. an encounter that was a chance occurrence event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause. the events following the assassination incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance. a minor wartime incident episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident. a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background. couldn't recall the exact circumstances

Noun

incident, occurrence, and event mean something that happens. incident is used for something that is brief and unimportant. Except for one incident, the trip was fun. occurrence may be used for something that is not planned or expected. Such occurrences can't be predicted. event is often used of something that is important. They discussed the big events of last year.

Examples of incident in a Sentence

Noun

We just want to put that embarrassing incident behind us. Two people were shot yesterday in two separate incidents. Aside from a few isolated incidents, the crowd was well-behaved. Many such incidents go unreported. The bombing caused an international incident.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The department’s alarm system relates to the number of apparatus sent to a fire incident, with commanders on scene requesting that additional units respond, explained Kristin Tinsley, a Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Fire at Gascoigne Lumber on North Queen Anne was arson, Seattle fire officials say," 13 Nov. 2018 Gun deaths get the most media attention following a mass-fatality incident, such as in Parkland, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, or Thousand Oaks. Dr. Judy Melinek, Vox, "The NRA told doctors to “stay in your lane” on guns. I’m a doctor. This is my lane.," 12 Nov. 2018 The recent incidents, ranging from injections of malicious computer code to a massive number of bogus requests for voter registration forms, have not been publicly disclosed until now. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections," 7 Nov. 2018 That no one seemed sure how to clock the incident, nor certain that Sotheby’s wasn’t in on it, spoke volumes. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 2018 One incident in particular involved Jake setting a ton of furniture on fire in an empty swimming pool, endangering neighbors with the smoke. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Jake Paul's Biggest Controversies," 26 Sep. 2018 Video footage of the incident shows people running away from the surrounding limestone cliffs as sheets of rock fell close to the shore, and into the water. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Landslide Injures Tourists at Greece's Famous 'Shipwreck' Beach," 14 Sep. 2018 Two brothers, Sean and Daniel Diaz, 16 and 9, are forced to run away from home after a tragic incident in Seattle. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Gabe Newell struggles with "triple kill" and BattleTech announces its first expansion," 24 Aug. 2018 Rooke shared his own account of the incident on Twitter, writing that Harry shouted to get him out of the way. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Almost Hit Photographers With a Polo Ball During Sentebale Match," 27 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

An Oregon Department of Transportation incident response worker was hit by a car while answering a call on the roadway around 7:30 p.m., according to Don Hamilton, an agency spokesman. Everton Bailey Jr., OregonLive.com, "Icy roads contributing to traffic hazards in Portland area," 20 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of incident

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incident

Noun

Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin incident-, incidens, from Latin, present participle of incidere to fall into, from in- + cadere to fall — more at chance

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Learn More about incident

Statistics for incident

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incident

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

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More Definitions for incident

incident

noun

English Language Learners Definition of incident

: an unexpected and usually unpleasant thing that happens

: an event or disagreement that is likely to cause serious problems in relations between countries

incident

noun
in·​ci·​dent | \ˈin-sə-dənt \

Kids Definition of incident

: an often unimportant happening that may form a part of a larger event

incident

adjective
in·​ci·​dent | \ˈin(t)-səd-ənt, -sə-ˌdent \

Medical Definition of incident 

: falling or striking on something incident light rays incident radiation

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incident

noun
in·​ci·​dent | \ˈin-sə-dənt, -ˌdənt \

Legal Definition of incident 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a distinct occurrence or event an incident of sexual harassment

2 : a subordinate, dependent, or consequential element the search was a legitimate incident to the arrest child support and other incidents of divorce

incident

adjective

Legal Definition of incident (Entry 2 of 2)

: having a subordinate or dependent relation to something specified a search incident to arrest

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Comments on incident

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