incidental

adjective
in·​ci·​den·​tal | \ ˌin(t)-sə-ˈden-tᵊl How to pronounce incidental (audio) \

Definition of incidental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

incidental

noun

Definition of incidental (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Incidental vs. Accidental

Adjective

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").

Examples of incidental in a Sentence

Adjective You may incur some incidental expenses on the trip. an incidental part of the job He writes incidental music for plays.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These details were not incidental, as Spaihts’s quote might lead one to believe. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 30 Oct. 2021 That wasn’t entirely his fault — as envisioned by director Zack Snyder, the character was as morose as Bruce Wayne and tanklike in costume; Affleck’s involvement felt largely incidental. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 14 Oct. 2021 The principle of distinction requires parties to armed conflicts to distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects, while the principle of proportionality dictates warring sides must ensure limited incidental damage. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Oct. 2021 To qualify for inclusion in legislation advanced through the process, known as budget reconciliation, any change must have a significant impact on the federal budget that is more than incidental to the policy change being sought. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2021 Far from being an incidental peripheral issue to be mitigated by policy tweaks, exploitation of the vulnerable is a direct result of the commodification of persons. Noelle Mering, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021 Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that the order reflects a way of thinking about inherent versus incidental attributes of things. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Sep. 2021 Republican aides are expected to argue the budgetary impact of adding millions of new citizens is merely incidental and that such sizable policy changes aren’t allowed in reconciliation. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Just remember that any incidental personal travel within the trip — visiting family or taking a side trip, for example — are nondeductible personal expenses. Brian Thompson, Forbes, 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Additional perks: In the event of a travel delay, the CSP offers $500-a-day coverage for hotels, meals, and incidentals. Emily Long, Condé Nast Traveler, 3 Feb. 2020 The exact cost of the trip for the Secret Service is unclear, since the DHS IG could not calculate how much was spent on meals and incidentals and did not say how many Secret Service employees accompanied the president. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 24 Mar. 2020 This total doesn’t include most meals, in-city transportation or incidentals (such as college sweatshirts). cleveland, 23 Feb. 2020 This total doesn’t include most meals, in-city transportation or incidentals (such as college sweatshirts). Liz Weston, Dallas News, 8 Feb. 2020 This total doesn’t include most meals, in-city transportation or incidentals (such as college sweatshirts). cleveland, 23 Feb. 2020 Additional perks: The Gold card comes with a $100 annual credit toward incidentals on a single airline plus a $10-per-month credit on dining via GrubHub, Seamless, and a small selection of restaurants. Emily Long, Condé Nast Traveler, 3 Feb. 2020 This total doesn’t include most meals, in-city transportation or incidentals (such as college sweatshirts). cleveland, 23 Feb. 2020 This total doesn’t include most meals, in-city transportation or incidentals (such as college sweatshirts). Liz Weston, Dallas News, 8 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of incidental

Adjective

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for incidental

Time Traveler

The first known use of incidental was in 1644

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Dictionary Entries Near incidental

incident

incidental

incidentalist

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Statistics for incidental

Last Updated

1 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Incidental.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incidental. Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for incidental

incidental

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incidental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: happening as a minor part or result of something else

incidental

noun

English Language Learners Definition of incidental (Entry 2 of 2)

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

incidental

adjective
in·​ci·​den·​tal | \ ˌin-sə-ˈden-tᵊl How to pronounce incidental (audio) \

Kids Definition of incidental

: happening as an unimportant part of something else incidental expenses

incidental

adjective
in·​ci·​den·​tal | \ ˌin-sə-ˈdent-ᵊl How to pronounce incidental (audio) \

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

Other Words from incidental

incidentally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on incidental

Nglish: Translation of incidental for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incidental for Arabic Speakers

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