1

incidental

adjective in·ci·den·tal \ ˌin(t)-sə-ˈden-tᵊl \
Updated on: 26 Apr 2018

Definition of incidental

1 a : being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence
  • social obligations incidental to the job
b : minor 1
2 : occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation

Examples of incidental in a Sentence

  1. You may incur some incidental expenses on the trip.

  2. an incidental part of the job

  3. He writes incidental music for plays.

Recent Examples of incidental from the Web

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

incidental vs. accidental

One sense of incidental is defined as "occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation ," and one of the most common meanings of accidental in modern use is "occurring unexpectedly or by chance," so it is not surprising that the two words are sometimes confused. However, in almost all settings in which they will be found today, these words have distinct meanings. Incidental is most often used in the sense "being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence," or "minor" (as in "there were some incidental expenses that I paid myself").

First Known Use of incidental

1644

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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2

incidental

noun

Definition of incidental

1 incidentals plural : minor items (as of expense) that are not particularized
2 : something that is incidental

Recent Examples of incidental from the Web

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

First Known Use of incidental

1707

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

INCIDENTAL Defined for English Language Learners

incidental

Definition of incidental for English Language Learners

  • : happening as a minor part or result of something else


incidental

Definition of incidental for English Language Learners

  • : something that happens as a minor part or result of something else : something that is incidental


INCIDENTAL Defined for Kids

incidental

adjective in·ci·den·tal \ ˌin-sə-ˈden-tᵊl \

Definition of incidental for Students

: happening as an unimportant part of something else
  • incidental expenses

Law Dictionary

incidental

adjective in·ci·den·tal \ ˌin-sə-ˈdent-ᵊl \

legal Definition of incidental

1 : subordinate or secondary in importance or position
  • incidental benefits
2 : incident
3 : occurring by chance or in isolation
  • incidental use of a person's image

incidentally

adverb


Seen and Heard

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