Definition of incidental in English:

incidental

adjective

  • 1Happening as a minor accompaniment to something else.

    ‘for the fieldworker who deals with real problems, paperwork is incidental’
    ‘incidental expenses’
    • ‘For most the countryside is simply background, incidental.’
    • ‘Criticism of the footnote is not a quibble about a minor incidental proposition.’
    • ‘The scholarship will cover the full tuition and accommodation fees involved but will not cover travel to the Colaiste or other incidental expenses.’
    • ‘Most cakes were eaten as incidental items to accompany a glass of sweet wine (the origin of the Madeira cake) or a dish of tea.’
    • ‘The background is no incidental backcloth for the staging of the figure's magnificence.’
    • ‘The figures under the heading IEP relate to constituency office IT costs, stationery and incidental expenses.’
    • ‘Such background details were not incidental, but necessary and defining parts of so deeply felt an experience.’
    • ‘A hundred dollars left at the desk to cover any incidental expenses I might incur in a day didn't get me effective use of the phone in my room or access to the mini-bar.’
    • ‘We know something of Casaubon's background from incidental remarks.’
    • ‘The Matriarch of the family gives him some money for books and incidental expenses.’
    • ‘As in his biography of Macarthur, the Aborigines are incidental, minor problems for his hero to overcome.’
    • ‘That space came along as a necessary but incidental accompaniment of the two arches.’
    • ‘Each attack's accompanied by great incidental animations, ranging from acrobatic swordfights to the crackle and flare of Force Lightning tearing into the enemy.’
    • ‘The team will pay for their own accommodation and it is hoped a sponsor will come forward to cover incidental expenses so all the money raised can go directly to Rosemere.’
    • ‘The latter has pages of editorial to play out fantasies and impart visual narratives, and the clothes are incidental; they just happen to be what the models were wearing at the time.’
    • ‘But while reducing accrued liability makes the balance sheet look better, there's no effect on expenses beyond the incidental savings of closing the office.’
    • ‘Usually it's the ‘living expenses’ and other incidental costs that throw budgets out of whack.’
    • ‘Book sales as such became an incidental, minor percentage of daily turnover in this and other bookshops.’
    • ‘Yes, like I said we still don't have the money to cover even the incidental expenses, so I'm spending out of my pocket.’
    • ‘We manage 90 seconds of incidental chitchat before conversation dries up.’
    less important, of less importance, secondary, subsidiary, subordinate, ancillary, auxiliary
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    1. 1.1 Occurring by chance in connection with something else.
      ‘the incidental catch of dolphins in the pursuit of tuna’
      • ‘They are not meat eaters, and any insects they swallow are accidental or incidental.’
      • ‘Precision comes from being able to strike the desired target while avoiding incidental casualties or unwanted damage.’
      • ‘The small and incidental commercial catch is marketed as ‘perch’.’
      • ‘When the wasp attacks the larval butterfly, it drives the ants to attack each other, turning them into incidental casualties.’
      • ‘The aim is to reduce the incidental catch of gamefish like marlin while allowing stocks of swordfish, oceanic sharks and tuna to replenish themselves.’
      chance, by chance, accidental, by accident, random, casual, fortuitous, serendipitous, adventitious, coincidental, unlooked-for
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  • 2incidental toHappening as a result of (an activity)

    ‘the ordinary risks incidental to a fireman's job’
    • ‘Achieving this designation in public policy requires identifying opportunities both as a specific agenda and as incidental to other APA activities.’
    • ‘Thus, for example, activities initially incidental to the main of an area of land may grow in scale to a point where they convert the single use to a composite use and produce a material change of use of the whole.’
    • ‘For instance, a charity has to refrain from political advocacy, unless such lobbying activity is merely incidental to the charitable purpose.’
    • ‘There was no fireman's rule in English law requiring firemen to accept the ordinary risks incidental to fighting a fire, having claims only in respect of unusual or extraordinary risks.’
    connected with, related to, associated with, accompanying, attending, attendant on, concomitant to
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noun

usually incidentals
  • An incidental expense, event, etc.

    ‘an allowance to cover meals, taxis, and other incidentals’
    • ‘Tuition, books, first and last month's rent and other incidentals can easily have us spending $4,000 before the term even begins.’
    • ‘In 2002, tuition fees before incidentals in this same program stand at $2,015, an increase of 145 per cent over 10 years.’
    • ‘Meals, recreational activities, and incidentals are out-of-pocket expenses.’
    • ‘These organisations are also entitled to what the government calls a top-up-grant which, in effect, is intended to cover rises in staff salaries and other incidentals.’
    • ‘The Defence Travel Card is a corporate credit card used to pay for business travel expenses including accommodation, meals, incidentals and surface travel.’
    extras, contingencies, odds and ends
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Origin

Early 17th century: originally from medieval Latin incidentalis, from Latin incident- ‘falling upon, happening to’ (from the verb incidere).

Pronunciation

incidental

/ɪnsɪˈdɛnt(ə)l/