1. happening, affair, case, circumstance. Event, episode, incident, occurrence are terms for a happening. An event is usually an important happening: historical events. An episode is one of a series of happenings in a person's life or in a narrative: an episode in one's life. An incident is an event of usually minor importance: an amusing incident in a play. An occurrence is something that happens, often by surprise: His arrival was an unexpected occurrence. 2. consequence.