Definition of incident in English:



  • 1An event or occurrence.

    ‘several amusing incidents’
    • ‘The incident happened in 1994 as mourners gathered after the funeral of the boy's grandfather.’
    • ‘It chronicles where the incident happened, when, and in what circumstances.’
    • ‘The occurrence and magnitude of incidents related to economic, social and political instability are unpredictable.’
    • ‘All of these incidents started happening a year ago next year.’
    • ‘The embarrassing incident happened just a day after their debut album ‘Handshakes for Bullets’ was released.’
    • ‘Over the years Arthur has had many amusing incidents happen to him.’
    • ‘When these incidents happen it is wasteful for the time of business people travelling through.’
    • ‘That's one of the really fun things about writing - you can take incidents that happened to you, and you can relate them and make them part of somebody else's story.’
    • ‘All reasonable people understand that acts of God, accidents, or incidents will happen that will affect the quality of drinking water.’
    • ‘In a bizarre but later understandable chain of events, an incident happened in seconds that ruined the lives of four men and ended that of a fifth.’
    • ‘Opposition councillors have questioned how the incident was allowed to happen in the first place.’
    • ‘Then a couple of incidents happened one after the other that changed my life.’
    • ‘He saw that she showed no sign of being scared on account of the occurrence of a political incident.’
    • ‘Similar explosive incidents happen regularly around the world and occasionally get into the press, or in Japan, on experimental TV.’
    • ‘Wildlife rescuers said they were shocked and devastated by three incidents, which have happened in the past week.’
    • ‘Lipton survived the affair and told shareholders the incident had happened years before and the practice had been given up.’
    • ‘Space permits me to relate just two incidents that happened recently to members of the running fraternity in Sligo.’
    • ‘I would like to relate a recent incident that happened to one of my friends in her 30s.’
    • ‘I would like to relate to you and your readers an incident that happened to me not long ago and express my gratitude and admiration for all those involved.’
    • ‘Finally she calmed down and, regaining composure, proceeded with the wedding as if the incident had never happened.’
    event, occurrence, occasion, episode, experience, happening, proceeding, eventuality, affair, business
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    1. 1.1A violent event, such as a fracas or assault.
      ‘one person was stabbed in the incident’
      • ‘But most of the incidents were fighting between individuals, minor public order incidents and minor assaults.’
      • ‘Most patients were young lads with a Northern Irish accent, usually victims of violent incidents like stone throwing, assaults, or even punishment beatings.’
      • ‘The drivers claim they are at risk because of the nature of the job, and say that police have not been responding efficiently to emergency calls following assaults and violent incidents.’
      • ‘Other incidents included violent disturbances, assault on a 23-year-old man, shouting threats to kill and spitting at residents.’
      • ‘A few days ago a man was sentenced to death for two separate incidents that occurred about a year ago - deliberately knocking two women off their scooters and trying to steal their bags.’
      • ‘In May, Davie police charged him with domestic violence and aggravated assault after the incident with the hammer.’
      • ‘The assault was the latest in a series of violent incidents involving bus crews in Yorkshire which has led to a series of suspensions and threatened withdrawals of bus services.’
      • ‘The court heard that there had been two earlier violent incidents before the fatal confrontation.’
      • ‘The woman was left shocked but uninjured after the incident, which happened at about 6.10 pm yesterday.’
      • ‘But another resident, who asked not to be named, said she was considering leaving the area after hearing of several unrelated but violent incidents in Portswood and Inner Avenue.’
      • ‘They were given unrestricted access to officers and police documentation, and attended events and incidents as they happened.’
      • ‘Police are investigating two incidents that occurred within hours of each other on opposite sides of the city.’
      • ‘Humberside Police launched the amnesty today in a bid to get the deadly weapons off the streets, and said there had been 84 recorded incidents of violent crime in the area in January and February alone.’
      • ‘Airedale Hospital in rural Steeton, near Keighley, has had nearly 140 reported violent incidents last year, ranging from verbal abuse to actual assault.’
      • ‘The first incident happened when riot police were called to a ‘serious’ disturbance between rival fans at the pub.’
      • ‘Four footballers are facing court cases arising out of two separate alleged incidents involving violent assaults.’
      • ‘The incident happened in the afternoon near the main bus stand in the communally sensitive North Gujarat town, which has witnessed several violent incidents in recent weeks.’
      • ‘Women have been warned to be on their guard following a spate of violent incidents involving men posing as private hire taxi drivers.’
      • ‘Shockingly, even a teacher is listed as a perpetrator in a Yorkshire council's tables, which show a total of 173 racist incidents from name-calling to assault.’
      • ‘Such is the prevalence of workplace violence that an entire industry has sprung up dedicated to predicting violent incidents and attempting to prevent them.’
    2. 1.2A hostile clash between forces of rival countries.
      • ‘During the incident, the Japanese force had total control of the skies over Shanghai.’
      • ‘It represents the heaviest loss of British life in a single hostile incident since the war began.’
      • ‘A CNN crew embedded at ground forces headquarters witnessed the incident.’
      • ‘If the Germans did not like it, they could attack American forces… Everything was to be done to force an incident.’
      • ‘In recent weeks there have been repeated incidents in which forces have demolished homes believed to belong to members of the resistance.’
    3. 1.3A case or instance of something happening.
      ‘a single incident of rudeness does not support a finding of contemptuous conduct’
      • ‘She added that every single incident of anti-social behaviour should be reported, no matter how trivial.’
      • ‘Insp Alan King said it was the worst incident of large-scale violent behaviour witnessed in the town centre for some months.’
      • ‘Reporting of an incident of mass action influences action by another group.’
      • ‘In interview he said he had never before had an incident of under-age sales and confirmed he had received guidance on the sale of fireworks.’
      • ‘With regards to the incident of the phone being disconnected and the handset used for target practice, what would this achieve?’
      • ‘Mr Loftus said this was the first incident of an apparent breach of planning conditions by the gas terminal developers.’
      • ‘What were they about - safety, pay, an incident of disciplinary action?’
      • ‘That was just an incident of a two friends forgetting who they were for a second.’
      • ‘And there is now a reported incident of a problem on a bus at Hackney.’
      • ‘He responded to an incident of a man with a .38 revolver terrorizing his neighbors.’
      • ‘Killarney Gardai confirmed that an incident of alleged assault was under investigation.’
      • ‘There is, for instance, the true incident of a man who was shot in an American nightclub.’
      • ‘If this was an isolated incident of bad service, it sure happened to the wrong customer.’
      • ‘Participants were asked if they had ever experienced any incident of sexual abuse.’
      • ‘He said the extra defences were being left in place and condemned the latest incident of a sandbag being removed.’
      • ‘Another incident of a very sensitive nature was relayed to me by a supplier executive.’
      • ‘There has not been a single incident of a living Mahogany being uprooted in the area for a long time.’
      • ‘As in previous studies, the single incident of bleeding occurred in an elderly woman.’
      • ‘He recounts the incident of a man who came to beg for food for his starving child.’
      • ‘Had you heard about this incident of him falling off the roof, and having seizures in the past?’
    4. 1.4The occurrence of dangerous or exciting things.
      ‘the winter passed without incident’
      • ‘It was an hour packed with drama, incident, excitement, courage and endeavour.’
      • ‘Such anticipation as I had was more pleasure than pain, and the event itself passed without drama or incident.’
      • ‘The conversation shifted to other topics and the rest of the meal passed without incident.’
      • ‘The first meeting passed off without incident.’
      • ‘The lives of fictional private detectives tend to be action-packed, dangerous and full of incident.’


  • 1[predicative] Likely to happen because of; resulting from.

    ‘the changes incident to economic development’
    • ‘It is true if and only if the first argument is incident to the second.’
    1. 1.1Law
      Attaching to.
      ‘the costs properly incident to a suit for foreclosure or redemption’
      • ‘Covenants, obligations and liabilities incident to the estate.’
      • ‘The appellate court reversed, saying the search was lawful because it was incident to the arrest of the passenger.’
  • 2(especially of light or other radiation) falling on or striking something.

    ‘when an ion beam is incident on a surface’
    • ‘The net effect is the diffraction of the incident radiation by the array of molecules.’
    • ‘This orientation minimizes the polymer's exposure to incident light and hence lowers observed fluorescence.’
    • ‘The intensity of all monochromatic incident light was kept close using neutral density filters.’
    • ‘Further, nitrogen-based defensive compounds tend to increase under both high nutrient availability and reduced incident radiation.’
    • ‘There is a resonant interaction of the incident light with the surface plasmons on both surfaces of the metal film.’
    1. 2.1Relating to incidence.
      ‘the incident angle’
      • ‘Note that the incident angle is the angle between the laser beam and the normal to the interface.’
      • ‘The cutoff wavelength of a dichroic mirror is a sensitive function of the incident angle.’
      • ‘The sample chamber could be rotated to alter the incident angle for both reflective and transmissive diffraction.’
      • ‘Mirror size and shape is based on the diameter of the beam to be reflected, the incident angle, and the required scan angle.’
      • ‘Compressive force on the platelet, on the other hand, is a function of both the incident angle and shear rate.’


On the difference between incidents and incidence, see incidence


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin incident- falling upon, happening to from the verb incidere, from in- upon + cadere to fall.