Definition of accident in English:

accident

noun

  • 1An unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

    ‘he had an accident at the factory’
    mass noun ‘if you are unable to work owing to accident or sickness’
    • ‘Each year, more than 37,000 women die from accidents.’
    • ‘Casualties who suffered less serious injuries in accidents also fell from 492 to 306 in Hampshire and from 96 to 80 in Southampton.’
    • ‘Co-ordinator of the scheme, Inspector Mick Melia, believes it has played a big role in cutting down accidents, injuries and fatalities.’
    • ‘Most of these accidents and injuries are irreversible, and a company cannot hand out a sincere apology and have the victim know for certain that they mean it - so they express their remorse with a cheque.’
    • ‘I have heard of injuries from similar accidents, but none as severe as this.’
    • ‘Currently, surgeons are forced to use grafts taken from other areas of a patient's body to replace skin damaged in burns and accidents, but this is difficult in patients who are badly injured.’
    • ‘As noted earlier, the NTSB defines any event that led to human injury, death, or serious equipment damage as an accident.’
    • ‘There were also a number of other accidents resulting lesser injuries or damage to gliders.’
    • ‘Over a three-year period there has to have been four accidents involving deaths and serious injuries and eight accidents where victims have needed medical treatment.’
    • ‘You haven't been involved in any accidents or injuries at work?’
    • ‘However the damages and injuries from the accidents so far this year surpassed those of last year.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators have launched an investigation following the incident on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators are probing the cause of the incident.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators say the incident was ‘serious’ and are checking instructions from air traffic control.’
    • ‘Doctors say he is making satisfactory progress after suffering extensive injuries in the accident five weeks ago today.’
    • ‘Also, every year there are a number of serious accidents and injuries involving children who wander unauthorised onto constructions sites.’
    • ‘Except Lucio just had a bone removed from his hip and put into his wrist, to help him recover from a motorcycle accident injury, so it's down to me and Dave to cook.’
    • ‘He said data from accidents and damage incidents is collected and used to tailor officer and staff training to improve safety and cut down costs.’
    • ‘Your liability coverage will protect you if you cause an accident that results in damage or injuries, up to the limits of your policy.’
    • ‘In the most favourable situation, there is only material damage, but often an accident causes physical injuries or even death.’
    mishap, misfortune, misadventure, mischance, unfortunate incident, injury, disaster, tragedy, catastrophe, contretemps, calamity, blow, trouble, problem, difficulty
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    1. 1.1 A crash involving road or other vehicles.
      ‘four people were killed in a road accident’
      • ‘Within recent weeks there have been several minor car accidents on the country roads.’
      • ‘Both Salford and Manchester city councils say there are currently unaware of any pending claims resulting from road accidents involving cars on tram lines.’
      • ‘In the last year I've witnessed four road accidents where only one vehicle was involved.’
      • ‘Currently the only call-outs that Grassington does not cover are road traffic accidents and aircraft crashes because it does not have the specialist cutting equipment required.’
      • ‘‘All staff responding to road traffic accidents should thoroughly search vehicles,’ he said.’
      • ‘Each year more than 200 people are rescued from vehicles involved in road accidents in North Yorkshire, a greater number than those rescued from fires.’
      • ‘I can guarantee that all the people who have been rescued from fires, or cut free from wrecked vehicles at road traffic accidents, know our true worth.’
      • ‘A campaign has been launched to reduce the speed limit on a road following an accident where a car landed on its roof in a field.’
      • ‘During his career, he has attended road accidents, air crashes, forest fires and blazing thatched cottages.’
      • ‘A teenage driver was killed when his car collided head-on with a heavy goods vehicle in a horrific accident on a major road near York.’
      • ‘And special squads of doctors are being set up to go out to the scene of road traffic accidents to look after crash victims.’
      • ‘Cameras are only ever installed for public safety reasons at sites which have a history of fatal accidents or serious injuries over the previous three years, along with documented evidence of speeding.’
      • ‘There has been a 20% rise in the numbers of people killed in road accidents involving police cars.’
      • ‘But in 1971 doctors had thought she would not live after being critically injured in a car accident in Thornton Road.’
      • ‘A large number of studies have investigated the relationship between skid resistance and road vehicle accidents.’
      • ‘In 1983, this 25-year-old woman was involved in a car accident on a Missouri road that left her in a vegetative state.’
      • ‘But it has been proved that actually defective vehicles have contributed to accidents on Zambian roads.’
      • ‘He suffered no injuries in the accident, and his lorry was left with only minor damage.’
      • ‘A stretch of the N7 east of Naas was the location for another two fatal accidents with 34 other accidents causing injury.’
      • ‘These are some of the kind of vehicles contributing to the accidents on the roads.’
      crash, collision, smash, bump, car crash, car accident, road accident, traffic accident, road traffic accident, rta, multiple crash, multiple collision
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    2. 1.2euphemistic An incidence of incontinence by a child or animal.
      ‘he had a little accident, but I washed his shorts out’
  • 2An event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.

    ‘the pregnancy was an accident’
    ‘it is no accident that Manchester has produced more than its fair share of professional comics’
    • ‘Hegel explicitly denies - and it would in any case be quite out of keeping with his whole line of thought - that the direction of history is some kind of fortunate accident.’
    • ‘If life is very much a matter of chance - and of accident, then it follows that it is people not doctrines who count.’
    • ‘And contingency, accident, and chance have their role to play in the development of life's web.’
    • ‘It is an accident that my ancestors smuggled a lot of confiscated gold out of Nazi Germany when they negotiated safe passage from the Vatican.’
    • ‘It's no accident that continental systems have more money and more resources: patients choose to spend their money on health because they can see that it is put to good to use.’
    • ‘As soon as you examine the alternative you see what good fortune this accident of human demographics has bestowed on us.’
    • ‘Through the fortunate accident of having a tedious instructor I had gained a year!’
    • ‘Another chance for happy accidents that can change the course of history.’
    • ‘Was the wrong button on somebody's computer, which brought events to light, an accident or deliberate?’
    • ‘Such a culture cannot accept that accidents - in nature just as in social life - are just that, unintended and coincidental.’
    • ‘He got hold of the property by the merest accident, and as soon as he did he began his work by attacking three unfortunate orphans on the estate.’
    • ‘Systematicity may exist in connectionist architectures, but where it exists, it is no more than a lucky accident.’
    • ‘For too long we have regarded the extinction of Neanderthals as a chance historical accident.’
    • ‘Denis Beckett treks to the festival to reflect on the accidents, chances and coincidences that shape the world we know.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was no accident that the two events coincided, since the association between oysters and sex has been so hackneyed as to become an embarrassing cliché.’
    • ‘There are no accidents, only nature exercising her supremacy.’
    • ‘As a result, they welcomed successful accidents and chance events.’
    • ‘Yet the war did not really result from bad luck or accident; beneath a contingent process lay profound causes.’
    • ‘Thus, accidents or chance events function as sites around which narratives of individual difference can collocate.’
    • ‘Perhaps it is no accident that this event was held in a teaching institution.’
    • ‘Gogol came to have his name by accident, but that accident set in motion a series of events that would demarcate the history of a family.’
    chance, mere chance, coincidence, twist of fate, freak, hazard
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    1. 2.1mass noun The working of fortune; chance.
      ‘members belong to the House of Lords through hereditary right or accident of birth’
      • ‘Of course nepotism is a wonderful thing, and James is to be congratulated for making the most of this happy accident of birth.’
      • ‘By accident, by fate, by the meandering path that is parenthood, we become experts at things we thought we had no business knowing.’
      • ‘An accident of birth made me native to New York City where I grew but didn't flourish.’
      • ‘Some of the greatest discoveries in history resulted by chance or accident and many as an unexpected periphery to the original intent.’
      • ‘All to make sure that the children get the opportunities they were denied by mere accident of birth.’
      • ‘By accident it was found to stimulate hair growth and a topical lotion was developed for men.’
      • ‘By accident of history and geography, the balance of seats in Parliament never accurately reflects the balance of votes cast.’
      • ‘And so now by pure accident of birth, I'm alive at a time where science is about to figure this out.’
      • ‘Success is not a matter of chance, or an accident of birth.’
      • ‘For the other 90 per cent, it is viewed at best as quaint, but more often as a monstrous and grotesque accident of birth.’
      • ‘By mere accident of birth I happen to be British.’
      • ‘By accident, though, Clancy came close to the ideal because he suppressed personal conceits and put his body on the line for the benefit of others.’
      • ‘Although Colin Byrne was hooked on golf from an early age his transformation into one of the world's leading caddies was more accident than destiny.’
      • ‘Life formed through a fantastic combination of random chances and evolutionary accidents.’
      • ‘A child's accident of birth should not preclude a broad, critical, tolerant education.’
      • ‘An accident of birth like ethnic origins, or an illness or disability or sexual preference, have been endowed with tremendous significance.’
      • ‘That's the real lesson I learned in East Timor: that as an accident of birth some of us have been handed fortunate lives.’
      • ‘By accident, the modern supermax prison had been invented.’
      • ‘The best ways to find a shoe tree are luck, accident, or word of mouth.’
      • ‘By accident of birth, most, but not all American leaders, were born in the United States.’
      • ‘By accident he discovered a knack for ballet and after battling familial prejudice won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet school.’
      fortuitously, accidentally, coincidentally, by chance, by coincidence, by a fluke, unintentionally, inadvertently
      View synonyms
  • 3Philosophy
    (in Aristotelian thought) a property of a thing which is not essential to its nature.

    • ‘The sensory qualities of such an object are therefore no more than passing accidents, through which its essence is dimly and confusedly perceived.’
    • ‘It does not tell me that I am a substance (that is, an independently existing object) as opposed to an accident or property.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to see any form of rhetoric as more than trickery which played upon the accidents of language.’
    • ‘Sounds do have certain mathematically expressible accidents, but the science of proportions does not establish the substance or nature of sounds.’
    • ‘It is only when we call it ‘black’ that we introduce a new entity into the structure, an accident.’
    • ‘Therefore, this crucial distinction between substance and accidents does not apply.’
    • ‘The new element is existence, which Avicenna regarded as an accident, a property of things.’

Phrases

  • an accident waiting to happen

    • 1A potentially disastrous situation, typically caused by negligent or faulty procedures.

      • ‘The road is a busy, sweeping bend and although you couldn't describe it as an accident blackspot, people are concerned that the state of the road at present is an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘We are really angry because this is an accident waiting to happen and I'm sure that it will happen again.’
      • ‘Ward councillor Tim Young said: ‘It is a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.’’
      • ‘‘His death was, in my judgment, the result of an accident waiting to happen in circumstances where there was a clear and foreseeable risk of injury or worse,’ said Judge Paul Hoffman.’
      • ‘But that stretch of road is awful, an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘He has been corresponding with North Vancouver District for 16 months attempting to get some sort of pedestrian control on the stretch of road which he thinks is an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘‘It was an accident waiting to happen,’ he said.’
      • ‘While the tragedy was an accident, it was an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘Mr Baker said: ‘This has been an ongoing problem for years and is an accident waiting to happen.’’
      • ‘The situation was an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘It's an accident waiting to happen, particularly with the amount of small children in this area,’ she added.’
      • ‘The situation is an accident waiting to happen and there are already frequent prangs and bumps around the junction.’
      • ‘You would think anyone would immediately recognize the situation as an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘IT MAY be slap bang in the middle of a shipping channel and regarded as an accident waiting to happen - but the city's controversial swing bridge is nearing completion.’
      • ‘With all the kids in the park it will be mayhem - an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘In an editorial, the paper said it was an accident waiting to happen and urged aviation authorities to re-examine their safety procedures.’
      • ‘This is an accident waiting to happen and if this dog does attack a child then I hope the judge can live with his decision.’
      • ‘The exit from there is very limited so we've ended up with another traffic hazard which is an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘The Ballitore Hill junction that leads from the busy N9 motor-way into the village of Ballitore, is according to one local resident, an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘As I have said in recent weeks, this is an accident waiting to happen and the recent rain has made the ground slippy and dangerous for even the nimblest of people.’
      1. 1.1informal A person certain to cause trouble.
        • ‘You have been an accident waiting to happen and have placed many of your fellow citizens in grave danger.’
        • ‘Johnson was an accident waiting to happen and the big central defender, Robert Huth, who suffered at right-back against Bayern Munich, switched to the left where he looked even more uncomfortable and uncertain.’
        • ‘Idiots like this are an accident waiting to happen and, unfortunately, these accidents rarely affect just the drivers concerned.’
  • accidents will happen

    • However careful you try to be, it is inevitable that some unfortunate or unforeseen events will occur.

      ‘problems like these should not occur, but accidents will happen’
      • ‘Although accidents will happen, only we, the road users, can reduce them.’
      • ‘To have exchanged phone numbers and words would have been expected and if, as a result, Cole had ended up playing for Chelsea - well, accidents will happen.’
      • ‘‘They have a structured training system but, at the end of the day, any training system run by human beings is subject to accidents, and accidents will happen,’ said Mr Brownson.’
      • ‘As per the Rule - 101 in the kid book, accidents will happen.’
      • ‘Yes, we regret the loss of four lives, but throughout the history of war, accidents will happen, innocents will be killed.’
      • ‘When you are the world's policeman, accidents will happen.’
      • ‘Sometimes these things just happen as not even one method of contraception is 100% reliable, so accidents will happen, unfortunately!’
  • by accident

    • Unintentionally; by chance.

      ‘she didn't get where she is today by accident’
      ‘nomadic hunters probably ended up on the new continent by accident’
      • ‘But when Santa leaves him an extra present by accident Julian realises he will have to give it back.’
      • ‘That was the one I actually tried watching, but I kept missing episodes by accident.’
      • ‘She told the Citizen she became a goalkeeper more by accident than design.’
      • ‘Liverpool have stumbled into next season's Champions League almost by accident.’
      • ‘The family were involved in a road-rage nightmare after wandering into Ilford by accident.’
      • ‘It is clear that most are set off by accident: by the wind, by being badly installed, by nothing at all.’
      • ‘Today I managed to fulfill one of my lifes ambitions, and almost by accident.’
      • ‘The other issue Jon raises is knowing whether people were shot by accident or on purpose.’
      • ‘They discovered this entirely by accident, when a fire devastated their home.’
      • ‘The orchestra first came to Marlborough last December by accident last year.’
      • ‘The assailants were possibly in the building and the bodyguard came upon them by accident.’
      • ‘Detectives, who are still hunting the gunman, believe the shot may have been fired by accident.’
      • ‘He tries to put his hand on her knee but, afraid of seeming too forward, pretends he's done it by accident.’
      • ‘In truth, it was more by accident than design but it was a lucky chance which established his fame and fortune.’
      • ‘I got into recruitment by accident and stayed for 11 years before setting up Kite.’
      • ‘Renee Geyer enjoys a career that's spanned three decades but it all began by accident.’
      • ‘Quite by accident, Weir had stumbled on something so fulfilling that she devoted hours of her spare time to it.’
      • ‘He became a singer by accident after getting on stage to sing at a club.’
      • ‘Of course, the chances of this happening by accident are literally a hundred million billion to one.’
      • ‘I might have pulled my front brake by accident, which is why I went over the front, but I don't know.’
  • without accident

    • Safely.

      ‘he was able to stop the train without accident’
      • ‘The rest of the day passed without accident or incident, Graham engaged on his final one-sheet list of tiny finishing jobs and me trying without much success to get my task-list under the same level of control.’
      • ‘I know that's not a good thing, but at least my hypnotized mind knew the way home and how to get there without accident, right?’
      • ‘I waved it away quickly so that I could drive without accident.’
      • ‘The landing was hazardous, but we made it without accident.’
      • ‘In answer to that, since 1967, I have driven about three million miles without accident, or insurance claim I might add.’
      • ‘En route they encountered 14 ditches, all cleared without accident.’
      • ‘They managed their little boat well and without accident.’
      • ‘In a 24-hour period, 1,398 flights delivered over 13,000 tons of coal without accident or injury.’
      • ‘The greatest financial outlay required is on equipment, which may include small-scale crusher-destemmer, press, and an adequate supply of fermentation vessels, which allow the carbon dioxide to escape without accident.’
      • ‘In December the air group was only able to fly on 17 days but managed 630 sorties without accident.’
      • ‘I passed on the little pots of paint, mainly because I was fearful that my fingers aren't up to the job of opening them without accident, and picked up a fibre-tip pen and my little watercolour box instead.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘an event’): via Old French from Latin accident- ‘happening’, from the verb accidere, from ad- ‘towards, to’ + cadere ‘to fall’.

Pronunciation

accident

/ˈaksɪd(ə)nt/