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Synonym Chooser

How is the word incident distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of incident are circumstance, episode, event, and occurrence. While all these words mean "something that happens or takes place," incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance.

a minor wartime incident

When would circumstance be a good substitute for incident?

In some situations, the words circumstance and incident are roughly equivalent. However, circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background.

couldn't recall the exact circumstances

When can episode be used instead of incident?

The words episode and incident can be used in similar contexts, but episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident.

a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work

In what contexts can event take the place of incident?

While the synonyms event and incident are close in meaning, event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause.

the events following the assassination

When might occurrence be a better fit than incident?

While in some cases nearly identical to incident, occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan.

an encounter that was a chance occurrence

Thesaurus Entries Near incident

Cite this Entry

“Incident.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on incident

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