View synonyms for incident


[ in-si-duhnt ]


  1. an individual occurrence or event.

    Synonyms: happening

  2. a distinct piece of action, or an episode, as in a story or play.
  3. something that occurs casually in connection with something else.
  4. something appertaining or attaching to something else.
  5. an occurrence of seemingly minor importance, especially involving nations or factions between which relations are strained and sensitive, that can lead to serious consequences, as an outbreak of hostilities or a war:

    border incident; international incident.

  6. an embarrassing occurrence, especially of a social nature.


  1. likely or apt to happen (usually followed by to ).
  2. naturally appertaining:

    hardships incident to the life of an explorer.

  3. conjoined or attaching, especially as subordinate to a principal thing.
  4. falling or striking on something, as light rays.


/ ˈɪnsɪdənt /


  1. a distinct or definite occurrence; event
  2. a minor, subsidiary, or related event or action
  3. a relatively insignificant event that might have serious consequences, esp in international politics
  4. a public disturbance

    the police had reports of an incident outside a pub

  5. the occurrence of something interesting or exciting

    the trip was not without incident

“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


  1. postpositivefoll byto related (to) or dependent (on)
  2. whenpostpositive, often foll by to having a subsidiary or minor relationship (with)
  3. (esp of a beam of light or particles) arriving at or striking a surface

    incident electrons

“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
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Other Words From

  • inci·dent·less adjective
  • non·inci·dent noun adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of incident1

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin incident- (stem of incidēns “a happening,” noun use of present participle of Latin verb incidere “to fall upon, befall”), equivalent to Latin in- in- 2 + -cid- (combining form of cad- “fall”) + -ent- -ent; cadenza
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Word History and Origins

Origin of incident1

C15: from Medieval Latin incidens an event, from Latin incidere, literally: to fall into, hence befall, happen, from in- ² + cadere to fall
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Synonym Study

See event.
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Example Sentences

The reason given was an incident in January when his daughter was found on campus with a vape pen.

The publication confirmed that Dorris had told both a friend in the city and her mother about the incident — both of whom corroborated her account.

From Vox

For any incident, she says, “it’s really about trying to see the positive sides, and it’s about how you deal with it.”

From Ozy

It’s incredible the amount of media intensity that happens when there’s a viral incident.

Robinhood is facing class action lawsuits over the outages in March from customers who allege the incident caused them to lose money.

From Fortune

Which is impossible unless people talk publicly rather than letting each crime be its own isolated incident.

The “crying” incident is thought to have hurt Muskie in the primary--which he won handily, but with under 50 percent of the vote.

“I guess it was their first incident where they lose a plane,” said Dobersberger, the travel agent.

They finished out the tour without incident, while newspapers across the country picked up the story.

The incident sparked his belief in Santa, but he would have to wait nearly two decades before dressing up as Jolly St. Nick.

Nevertheless the evening and the night passed away without incident.

A little incident which his mother remembers is not without a pretty allegoric significance.

It is not, however, the incident in itself that is now referred to, but only the formality ascribed to it in the narrative.

The incident did not demand more than a few seconds for its transaction and Winifred hardly noticed it, so unstrung was she.

A curious incident: during the night a Fleet-sweeper tied up alongside, full of wounded, chiefly Australians.


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