1

incident

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

Definition of incident

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

Examples of incident in a Sentence

  1. We just want to put that embarrassing incident behind us.

  2. Two people were shot yesterday in two separate incidents.

  3. Aside from a few isolated incidents, the crowd was well-behaved.

  4. Many such incidents go unreported.

  5. The bombing caused an international incident.

Recent Examples of incident from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of incident

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

Synonym Discussion of incident

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

2

incident

adjective

Definition of incident

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

Recent Examples of incident from the Web

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.

First Known Use of incident

15th century



INCIDENT Defined for English Language Learners

incident

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noun

Definition of incident for English Language Learners

  • : an unexpected and usually unpleasant thing that happens

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


INCIDENT Defined for Kids

incident

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noun in·ci·dent \ ˈin-sə-dənt \

Definition of incident for Students

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

Synonym Discussion of incident

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.

Medical Dictionary

incident

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

medical Definition of incident

:falling or striking on something
  • incident light rays
  • incident radiation

Law Dictionary

1

incident

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

legal Definition of incident

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

2

incident

adjective

legal Definition of incident

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


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