Meaning of ACCIDENTAL in English


I. ˌak-sə-ˈden-t ə l adjective

Date: 14th century

1. : arising from extrinsic causes : incidental , nonessential


a. : occurring unexpectedly or by chance

b. : happening without intent or through carelessness and often with unfortunate results

• ac·ci·den·tal·ly -ˈdent-lē, -ˈden-t ə l-ē also ac·ci·dent·ly -ˈdent-lē adverb

• ac·ci·den·tal·ness -ˈden-t ə l-nəs noun


accidental , fortuitous , casual , contingent mean not amenable to planning or prediction. accidental stresses chance

any resemblance to actual persons is entirely accidental

fortuitous so strongly suggests chance that it often connotes entire absence of cause

a series of fortuitous events

casual stresses lack of real or apparent premeditation or intent

a casual encounter with a stranger

contingent suggests possibility of happening but stresses uncertainty and dependence on other future events for existence or occurrence

the contingent effects of the proposed law

II. noun

Date: 1651

1. : a nonessential property


a. : a note foreign to a key indicated by a signature

b. : a prefixed sign indicating an accidental

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.