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’
    • ‘The scholarship will cover the full tuition and accommodation fees involved but will not cover travel to the Colaiste or other incidental expenses.’
    • ‘Usually it's the ‘living expenses’ and other incidental costs that throw budgets out of whack.’
    • ‘The figures under the heading IEP relate to constituency office IT costs, stationery and incidental expenses.’
    • ‘That space came along as a necessary but incidental accompaniment of the two arches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Book sales as such became an incidental, minor percentage of daily turnover in this and other bookshops.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As in his biography of Macarthur, the Aborigines are incidental, minor problems for his hero to overcome.’
    • ‘Criticism of the footnote is not a quibble about a minor incidental proposition.’
    • ‘Such background details were not incidental, but necessary and defining parts of so deeply felt an experience.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each attack's accompanied by great incidental animations, ranging from acrobatic swordfights to the crackle and flare of Force Lightning tearing into the enemy.’
    • ‘For most the countryside is simply background, incidental.’
    • ‘We manage 90 seconds of incidental chitchat before conversation dries up.’
    • ‘The background is no incidental backcloth for the staging of the figure's magnificence.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘The small and incidental commercial catch is marketed as ‘perch’.’
      • ‘Precision comes from being able to strike the desired target while avoiding incidental casualties or unwanted damage.’
      • ‘The aim is to reduce the incidental catch of gamefish like marlin while allowing stocks of swordfish, oceanic sharks and tuna to replenish themselves.’
      • ‘They are not meat eaters, and any insects they swallow are accidental or incidental.’
      • ‘When the wasp attacks the larval butterfly, it drives the ants to attack each other, turning them into incidental casualties.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Achieving this designation in public policy requires identifying opportunities both as a specific agenda and as incidental to other APA activities.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meals, recreational activities, and incidentals are out-of-pocket expenses.’
    • ‘In 2002, tuition fees before incidentals in this same program stand at $2,015, an increase of 145 per cent over 10 years.’
    • ‘Tuition, books, first and last month's rent and other incidentals can easily have us spending $4,000 before the term even begins.’
    extras, contingencies, odds and ends
    expenses
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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/