incident

noun
in·​ci·​dent | \ ˈin(t)-sə-dənt How to pronounce incident (audio) , -ˌdent \

Definition of incident

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience : happening
b : an accompanying minor occurrence or condition : concomitant
2 : an action likely to lead to grave consequences especially in diplomatic matters a serious border incident
3 : something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance

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

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 Baltimore Sun obtained recordings of the 911 calls through a public-records request to provide additional insight about the incident. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "'The whole house blew up’: Neighbors describe explosion in 911 calls before major fire in Northwest Baltimore," 23 Oct. 2020 Former classmates have flooded the Beckham campaign’s Facebook page with messages about the incident, the Times reported, urging voters in Arkansas not to send him to the state Senate. Tim Elfrink, Washington Post, "A GOP state Senate candidate was expelled from high school for wearing a KKK outfit on Halloween," 23 Oct. 2020 Neither had any new information about the incident. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, "Investigation continues into Elmwood Place officer-involved shooting," 23 Oct. 2020 Anyone with information about the incident should call the Flagstaff Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at (928) 774-1414 or Silent Witness at (928) 774-6111. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, "Flagstaff police investigate man's death as possible homicide," 21 Oct. 2020 Police reports obtained Wednesday by The Dallas Morning News offer more details about the incident than had previously been released. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Police reports reveal more details about Dallas woman who died from COVID-19 during flight," 21 Oct. 2020 One of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor opened up about the incident to ABC News and Louisville's Courier Journal in an interview that was broadcast on Tuesday and Wednesday. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Officer involved in fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor says it's "not a race thing"," 21 Oct. 2020 New details about the incident have emerged in recent weeks, rocking a country that’s generally admired for its high standards of gender equality. Morten Buttler, Bloomberg.com, "Danish Sex Abuse Scandal Escalates Within Ruling Party," 20 Oct. 2020 Later in the 37-minute interview, Luhnow was asked about the incident during the 2019 playoffs in which a team employee was overheard making insensitive remarks toward a group of women reporters. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on sign-stealing punishment: MLB's goal was to 'calm the panic'," 20 Oct. 2020 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 3

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

Time Traveler for incident

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for incident

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incident.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incident. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for incident

incident

noun
How to pronounce incident (audio)

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 How to pronounce incident (audio) \

Kids Definition of incident

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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

incident

adjective
in·​ci·​dent | \ ˈin(t)-səd-ənt, -sə-ˌdent How to pronounce incident (audio) \

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 How to pronounce incident (audio) \

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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