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’
    • ‘You haven't been involved in any accidents or injuries at work?’
    • ‘I have heard of injuries from similar accidents, but none as severe as this.’
    • ‘Doctors say he is making satisfactory progress after suffering extensive injuries in the accident five weeks ago today.’
    • ‘However the damages and injuries from the accidents so far this year surpassed those of last year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Your liability coverage will protect you if you cause an accident that results in damage or injuries, up to the limits of your policy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the most favourable situation, there is only material damage, but often an accident causes physical injuries or even death.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Casualties who suffered less serious injuries in accidents also fell from 492 to 306 in Hampshire and from 96 to 80 in Southampton.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators have launched an investigation following the incident on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘Co-ordinator of the scheme, Inspector Mick Melia, believes it has played a big role in cutting down accidents, injuries and fatalities.’
    • ‘As noted earlier, the NTSB defines any event that led to human injury, death, or serious equipment damage as an accident.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators say the incident was ‘serious’ and are checking instructions from air traffic control.’
    • ‘Each year, more than 37,000 women die from accidents.’
    • ‘There were also a number of other accidents resulting lesser injuries or damage to gliders.’
    • ‘Air accident investigators are probing the cause of the incident.’
    mishap, misfortune, misadventure, mischance, unfortunate incident, injury, disaster, tragedy, catastrophe, contretemps, calamity, blow, trouble, problem, difficulty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A crash involving road or other vehicles.
      ‘four people were killed in a road accident’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Within recent weeks there have been several minor car accidents on the country roads.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And special squads of doctors are being set up to go out to the scene of road traffic accidents to look after crash victims.’
      • ‘Both Salford and Manchester city councils say there are currently unaware of any pending claims resulting from road accidents involving cars on tram lines.’
      • ‘But it has been proved that actually defective vehicles have contributed to accidents on Zambian roads.’
      • ‘These are some of the kind of vehicles contributing to the accidents on the roads.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There has been a 20% rise in the numbers of people killed in road accidents involving police cars.’
      • ‘During his career, he has attended road accidents, air crashes, forest fires and blazing thatched cottages.’
      • ‘In 1983, this 25-year-old woman was involved in a car accident on a Missouri road that left her in a vegetative state.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the last year I've witnessed four road accidents where only one vehicle was involved.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      crash, collision, smash, bump, car crash, car accident, road accident, traffic accident, road traffic accident, rta, multiple crash, multiple collision
      View synonyms
    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’
    • ‘Denis Beckett treks to the festival to reflect on the accidents, chances and coincidences that shape the world we know.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Another chance for happy accidents that can change the course of history.’
    • ‘As soon as you examine the alternative you see what good fortune this accident of human demographics has bestowed on us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are no accidents, only nature exercising her supremacy.’
    • ‘Through the fortunate accident of having a tedious instructor I had gained a year!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a result, they welcomed successful accidents and chance events.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet the war did not really result from bad luck or accident; beneath a contingent process lay profound causes.’
    • ‘And contingency, accident, and chance have their role to play in the development of life's web.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such a culture cannot accept that accidents - in nature just as in social life - are just that, unintended and coincidental.’
    • ‘Was the wrong button on somebody's computer, which brought events to light, an accident or deliberate?’
    • ‘If life is very much a matter of chance - and of accident, then it follows that it is people not doctrines who count.’
    chance, mere chance, coincidence, twist of fate, freak, hazard
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1mass noun The working of fortune; chance.
      ‘members belong to the House of Lords through hereditary right or accident of birth’
      • ‘By accident, the modern supermax prison had been invented.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All to make sure that the children get the opportunities they were denied by mere 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By accident it was found to stimulate hair growth and a topical lotion was developed for men.’
      • ‘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 he discovered a knack for ballet and after battling familial prejudice won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet school.’
      • ‘Success is not a matter of chance, or an accident of birth.’
      • ‘The best ways to find a shoe tree are luck, accident, or word of mouth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An accident of birth made me native to New York City where I grew but didn't flourish.’
      • ‘That's the real lesson I learned in East Timor: that as an accident of birth some of us have been handed fortunate lives.’
      • ‘Life formed through a fantastic combination of random chances and evolutionary accidents.’
      • ‘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 accident of birth, most, but not all American leaders, were born in the United States.’
      • ‘And so now by pure accident of birth, I'm alive at a time where science is about to figure this out.’
      • ‘By accident of history and geography, the balance of seats in Parliament never accurately reflects the balance of votes cast.’
      • ‘Some of the greatest discoveries in history resulted by chance or accident and many as an unexpected periphery to the original intent.’
      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 is only when we call it ‘black’ that we introduce a new entity into the structure, an accident.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to see any form of rhetoric as more than trickery which played upon the accidents of language.’
    • ‘The new element is existence, which Avicenna regarded as an accident, a property of things.’
    • ‘It does not tell me that I am a substance (that is, an independently existing object) as opposed to an accident or property.’
    • ‘Sounds do have certain mathematically expressible accidents, but the science of proportions does not establish the substance or nature of sounds.’
    • ‘Therefore, this crucial distinction between substance and accidents does not apply.’

Phrases

  • accident and emergency

    • A hospital department concerned with the provision of immediate treatment to people who are seriously injured in an accident or who are suddenly taken seriously ill.

      • ‘The boy was treated in accident and emergency before being examined by a consultant paediatrician.’
      • ‘She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital's accident and emergency but died after her breathing problems got worse.’
      • ‘A police station has been set up next to the waiting room in accident and emergency at the Royal Bolton Hospital.’
      • ‘They dried him off as best they could and took him to accident and emergency at the Medway Maritime hospital in Gillingham.’
      • ‘When I was a senior house officer working in accident and emergency I was asked to take a telephone call from a patient wanting advice.’
      • ‘This, however, contradicts our anecdotal impression from accident and emergency and fracture clinics.’
      • ‘These issues should be addressed in a setting other than the busy, pressured atmosphere of accident and emergency or acute wards.’
      • ‘The man who was taken to hospital was discharged after receiving treatment in the accident and emergency unit.’
      • ‘He first visited the radiology department before moving on to accident and emergency and a cardiac ward.’
      • ‘It is not appropriate to go to accident and emergency as an alternative to your GP.’
      • ‘The driver of another car involved in the accident was taken to accident and emergency at the hospital.’
      • ‘However, more patients required accident and emergency or out of hours care.’
      • ‘Essex Rivers NHS Trust is also struggling to hit tough target treatment times in accident and emergency.’
      • ‘Some years ago, I worked as a senior house officer in accident and emergency.’
      • ‘The highest number of claims are in anaesthetics, accident and emergency and obstetrics and gynaecology.’
      • ‘Even in accident and emergency those GP consultation models could be useful.’
      • ‘I cannot thank the staff of accident and emergency enough for their care of me.’
      • ‘A 42 year old man with diabetes presented to accident and emergency with intermittent vomiting for three days.’
      • ‘The patient is believed to have visited the accident and emergency department of a local hospital after feeling unwell.’
      • ‘An ambulance was called, and here they were in accident and emergency.’
  • an accident waiting to happen

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

      ‘people living near the site where the boy was crushed to death said it was an accident waiting to happen’
      • ‘The situation was 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.’
      • ‘The situation is an accident waiting to happen and there are already frequent prangs and bumps around the junction.’
      • ‘Ward councillor Tim Young said: ‘It is a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.’’
      • ‘It's an accident waiting to happen, particularly with the amount of small children in this area,’ she added.’
      • ‘With all the kids in the park it will be mayhem - an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘The exit from there is very limited so we've ended up with another traffic hazard which is an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘In an editorial, the paper said it was an accident waiting to happen and urged aviation authorities to re-examine their safety procedures.’
      • ‘‘It was an accident waiting to happen,’ he said.’
      • ‘But that stretch of road is awful, an accident waiting to happen.’
      • ‘Mr Baker said: ‘This has been an ongoing problem for years and is 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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘You would think anyone would immediately recognize the situation as 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While the tragedy was an accident, it was 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.’
  • accidents will happen in the best regulated families

    • proverb 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When you are the world's policeman, accidents will happen.’
      • ‘As per the Rule - 101 in the kid book, accidents will happen.’
      • ‘Sometimes these things just happen as not even one method of contraception is 100% reliable, so accidents will happen, unfortunately!’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Yes, we regret the loss of four lives, but throughout the history of war, accidents will happen, innocents will be killed.’
      • ‘Although accidents will happen, only we, the road users, can reduce them.’
  • 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’
      • ‘I might have pulled my front brake by accident, which is why I went over the front, but I don't know.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But when Santa leaves him an extra present by accident Julian realises he will have to give it back.’
      • ‘Of course, the chances of this happening by accident are literally a hundred million billion to one.’
      • ‘Detectives, who are still hunting the gunman, believe the shot may have been fired by accident.’
      • ‘The assailants were possibly in the building and the bodyguard came upon them by accident.’
      • ‘The family were involved in a road-rage nightmare after wandering into Ilford by accident.’
      • ‘That was the one I actually tried watching, but I kept missing episodes by accident.’
      • ‘The other issue Jon raises is knowing whether people were shot by accident or on purpose.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He tries to put his hand on her knee but, afraid of seeming too forward, pretends he's done it by accident.’
      • ‘She told the Citizen she became a goalkeeper more by accident than design.’
      • ‘He became a singer by accident after getting on stage to sing at a club.’
      • ‘The orchestra first came to Marlborough last December by accident last year.’
      • ‘They discovered this entirely by accident, when a fire devastated their home.’
      • ‘Liverpool have stumbled into next season's Champions League almost by accident.’
      • ‘In truth, it was more by accident than design but it was a lucky chance which established his fame and fortune.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘They managed their little boat well and 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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘En route they encountered 14 ditches, all cleared without accident.’
      • ‘In a 24-hour period, 1,398 flights delivered over 13,000 tons of coal without accident or injury.’
      • ‘In answer to that, since 1967, I have driven about three million miles without accident, or insurance claim I might add.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The landing was hazardous, but we made it without accident.’
      • ‘I waved it away quickly so that I could drive without accident.’
      • ‘In December the air group was only able to fly on 17 days but managed 630 sorties without accident.’

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/