accidental

[ ak-si-den-tl ]
/ ˌæk sɪˈdɛn tl /

adjective

happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected: an accidental meeting.
nonessential; incidental; subsidiary: accidental benefits.
Music. relating to or indicating sharps, flats, or naturals.

noun

a nonessential or subsidiary circumstance, characteristic, or feature.
Music. a sign placed before a note indicating a chromatic alteration of its pitch.

Origin of accidental

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word accidentālis. See accident, -al1

Related forms

Synonym study

1. Accidental, casual, fortuitous all describe something outside the usual course of events. Accidental implies occurring unexpectedly or by chance: an accidental blow. Casual describes a passing event of slight importance: a casual reference. Fortuitous is applied to events occurring without known cause, often of a fortunate or favorable nature: a fortuitous shower of meteors. It often also implies good luck or good fortune: a fortuitous choice leading to rapid advancement.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for accidental

British Dictionary definitions for accidental

accidental

/ (ˌæksɪˈdɛntəl) /

adjective

occurring by chance, unexpectedly, or unintentionally
nonessential; incidental
music denoting sharps, flats, or naturals that are not in the key signature of a piece
logic (of a property) not essential; contingent

noun

an incidental, nonessential, or supplementary circumstance, factor, or attribute
music a symbol denoting a sharp, flat, or natural that is not a part of the key signature

Derived Forms

accidentally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012