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accidental

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
Most of us fall short much more by omission than by commission. While the world perishes we go our way: purposeless, passionless, day after day.
Peace Pilgrim
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English

Etymology

Compare French accidentel, earlier accidental.

Pronunciation

Adjective

accidental (comparative {{{1}}}, superlative {{{2}}})

Positive
accidental

Comparative
{{{1}}}

Superlative
{{{2}}}

  1. Happening by chance, or unexpectedly; taking place not according to the usual course of things; casual; fortuitous
    an accidental visit
  2. Nonessential; not necessary belonging; incidental
    are accidental to a play
  3. (music) Foreign to the key signature or a proper harmony.
  4. unintentional; by accident

Usage notes

  • We speak of a thing as accidental when it falls out as by chance, and not in the regular course of things; as, an accidental meeting, an accidental advantage, etc.
  • We call a thing incidental when it falls, as it were, into some regular course of things, but is secondary, and forms no essential part thereof; as, an incidental remark, an incidental evil, an incidental benefit.
  • We speak of a thing as casual, when it falls out or happens, as it were, by mere chance, without being prearranged or premeditated; as, a casual remark or encounter; a casual observer. An idea of the unimportant is attached to what is casual.
  • Fortuitous is applied to what occurs without any known cause, and in opposition to what has been foreseen; as, a fortuitous concourse of atoms.
  • We call a thing contingent when it is such that, considered in itself, it may or may not happen, but is dependent for its existence on something else; as, the time of my coming will be contingent on intelligence yet to be received.

Synonyms

Derived terms

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Translations

Noun

Singular
accidental

Plural
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accidental ({{{1}}})
  1. A property which is not essential; a nonessential; anything happening accidentally.
    • Fuller — He conceived it just that accidentals ... should sink with the substance of the accusation.
  2. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) Those fortuitous effects produced by luminous rays falling on certain objects so that some parts stand forth in abnormal brightness and other parts are cast into a deep shadow.
  3. (music) A sharp, flat, or natural, occurring not at the commencement of a piece of music as the signature, but before a particular note.

Translations

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