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 latest figures, which do not include this month’s incidents, also show a dramatic drop in the use of less-lethal methods compared with 2013. Daniel Ochoa De Olza, The Seattle Times, "Border clash marks 2nd use of tear gas in just over a month," 2 Jan. 2019 Following the incident, the police arrested the owner of the mine, a local businessman. Krishna Pokharel, WSJ, "Divers Start Hunt for 15 Missing in Indian ‘Rathole’ Mine, Weeks After It Flooded," 30 Dec. 2018 Greene ventured to Bisbee, Arizona, for the centennial of a 1917 incident in which 1,200 striking miners were illegally deported to New Mexico. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 This latest snafu comes after a September 2018 incident where the company announced that 50 million accounts may have been affected in an unrelated attack. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "“We’re sorry,” Facebook says, again—new photo bug affects millions," 14 Dec. 2018 In the weeks following the incident, upsetting new details begin to emerge: None of the victims in the car was wearing a seatbelt. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 1: Fear," 4 Dec. 2018 Others are quick to critique that Obama did something similar (referencing a 2013 incident when border guards used pepper spray against migrants who threw rocks at them). Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "If You're Defending Tear Gassing Children, You're a Horrible Person," 28 Nov. 2018 This story contains details about a fatal domestic violence incident that may be upsetting to some readers. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "My Husband Tried to Murder Me in Our Yard. Then He Killed Himself.," 15 Oct. 2018 Just a few weeks ago, he was charged with a DUI after a drunk hit-and-run incident. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Mac Miller Dead at 26 Due to Apparent Overdose," 8 Sep. 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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Statistics for incident

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on incident

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with incident

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incident

Spanish Central: Translation of incident

Nglish: Translation of incident for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incident for Arabic Speakers

Comments on incident

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