incident

1 of 2

noun

in·​ci·​dent ˈin(t)-sə-dənt How to pronounce incident (audio)
-ˌdent
1
a
: 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

2 of 2

adjective

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
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Cellphone footage from the incident shows the beachfront pool deck descending into chaos as shrieking guests raced over, tried to help the couple, then discovered the danger of the hot tub water. CBS News, 19 June 2024 And the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the Jan. 5 incident. Allison Morrow, CNN, 19 June 2024
Adjective
By evaluating factors such as coverage limits, incident response support and post-incident services, MSPs have a keen understanding of a business’s risk profile and can help SMBs identify the cyber insurance coverage that best aligns with their operations and goals. Dor Eisner, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 The Department of Energy’s order is effective through 10 a.m. on Christmas Day, and grid operators are to provide detailed reporting to the Energy Department and complete a post-incident special environmental analysis, a department spokesperson said in an email. Dallas News, 24 Dec. 2022 See all Example Sentences for incident 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incident.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near incident

Cite this Entry

“Incident.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incident. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

incident

1 of 2 noun
in·​ci·​dent ˈin(t)-səd-ənt How to pronounce incident (audio)
-sə-ˌdent
: an often unimportant happening that may form part of a larger event

incident

2 of 2 adjective
1
2
: falling or striking on something
incident light rays

Medical Definition

incident

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

Legal Definition

incident

1 of 2 noun
in·​ci·​dent ˈin-sə-dənt, -ˌdənt How to pronounce incident (audio)
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

2 of 2 adjective
: having a subordinate or dependent relation to something specified
a search incident to arrest

More from Merriam-Webster on incident

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