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accidental

[ak-si-den-tl]
See more synonyms for accidental on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected: an accidental meeting.
  2. nonessential; incidental; subsidiary: accidental benefits.
  3. Music. relating to or indicating sharps, flats, or naturals.
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noun
  1. a nonessential or subsidiary circumstance, characteristic, or feature.
  2. Music. a sign placed before a note indicating a chromatic alteration of its pitch.
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Origin of accidental

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word accidentālis. See accident, -al1
Related formsac·ci·den·tal·ly, ac·ci·dent·ly, adverbac·ci·den·tal·ness, ac·ci·den·tal·i·ty, nounnon·ac·ci·den·tal, adjective, nounnon·ac·ci·den·tal·ly, adverbnon·ac·ci·den·tal·ness, nounpre·ac·ci·den·tal, adjectivepre·ac·ci·den·tal·ly, adverbpseu·do·ac·ci·den·tal, adjectivepseu·do·ac·ci·den·tal·ly, adverbqua·si-ac·ci·den·tal, adjectivequa·si-ac·ci·den·tal·ly, adverbun·ac·ci·den·tal, adjectiveun·ac·ci·den·tal·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for accidental on Thesaurus.com
1. unintentional, unforeseen.

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.

Antonyms

1. planned, contrived.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for accidently

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At that very moment, the crepe flounce on her dress was accidently torn off.

    Revolutionary Reader

    Sophie Lee Foster

  • He had chopped off several of her fingers, when they were accidently interrupted.

    Basque Legends

    Wentworth Webster

  • The matter was settled for him by meeting her accidently outside the buvette.

    Beggars on Horseback

    F. Tennyson Jesse

  • The other accidently put an end to her own life several weeks ago.

    Little Wolf

    M. A. Cornelius

  • I was in dread for fear his trembling finger might accidently touch the trigger.

    A Texas Cow Boy

    Chas. A. Siringo


British Dictionary definitions for accidently

accidental

adjective
  1. occurring by chance, unexpectedly, or unintentionally
  2. nonessential; incidental
  3. music denoting sharps, flats, or naturals that are not in the key signature of a piece
  4. logic (of a property) not essential; contingent
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noun
  1. an incidental, nonessential, or supplementary circumstance, factor, or attribute
  2. music a symbol denoting a sharp, flat, or natural that is not a part of the key signature
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Derived Formsaccidentally, 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

Word Origin and History for accidently

accidental

adj.

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.

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accidental

n.

late 14c., "non-essential quality," from accidental (adj.). The musical sense is from 1868.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper