- 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.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for accidental on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for accidental
This is kind of an accidental career for me—which is why I approach it with irreverence and playfulness.DJ Spooky Wants You To Question Everything You Know About Music, Technology, and Philosophy
December 27, 2014
Whatever irregularities occurred were accidental and insignificant.Honoring The Late John Doar, A Nearly Forgotten Hero Of The Civil Rights Era
November 15, 2014
In 1978, Scott Newman, his 28-year-old son, died of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose.The Stacks: The Eyes of Winter: Paul Newman at 70
October 11, 2014
An accidental mix-up of measles vaccine and a common muscle relaxer killed at least 15 Syrian children, and possibly many more.Measles Vaccine Mix-Up Kills Dozens of Syrian Children
September 18, 2014
Around two thirds of these accidental deaths happened in the home or vehicle of the family, with mostly unsecured guns.9-Year Old With an Uzi? America Is Tougher on Toys Than Guns
August 28, 2014
There are always such crowds of accidental arguments for anything.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
Realize it thoroughly: it is a methodical not an accidental world.Pax Vobiscum
He wished to know whether it was not liable to accidental derangement?The Mudfog and Other Sketches
My only chance will be the chance of an accidental meeting with Him.Henry Dunbar
M. E. Braddon
I had one or two pieces of luck in the way of accidental cases.The Stark Munro Letters
J. Stark Munro
- 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
- 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
Word Origin and History for accidental
late 14c., "non-essential," from Old French accidentel or directly from Medieval Latin accidentalis, from Latin accidentem (see accident). Meaning "outside the normal course of nature" is from early 15c.; that of "coming by chance" is from 1570s.
late 14c., "non-essential quality," from accidental (adj.). The musical sense is from 1868.