Definition of incidental in US English:

incidental

adjective

  • 1Accompanying but not a major part of something.

    ‘for the fieldworker who deals with real problems, paperwork is incidental’
    ‘incidental expenses’
    • ‘That space came along as a necessary but incidental accompaniment of the two arches.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘As in his biography of Macarthur, the Aborigines are incidental, minor problems for his hero to overcome.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Criticism of the footnote is not a quibble about a minor incidental proposition.’
    • ‘We know something of Casaubon's background from incidental remarks.’
    • ‘We manage 90 seconds of incidental chitchat before conversation dries up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The background is no incidental backcloth for the staging of the figure's magnificence.’
    • ‘Usually it's the ‘living expenses’ and other incidental costs that throw budgets out of whack.’
    • ‘The Matriarch of the family gives him some money for books and incidental expenses.’
    • ‘Book sales as such became an incidental, minor percentage of daily turnover in this and other bookshops.’
    • ‘The figures under the heading IEP relate to constituency office IT costs, stationery 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.’
    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.’
      • ‘The aim is to reduce the incidental catch of gamefish like marlin while allowing stocks of swordfish, oceanic sharks and tuna to replenish themselves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Precision comes from being able to strike the desired target while avoiding incidental casualties or unwanted damage.’
      chance, by chance, accidental, by accident, random, casual, fortuitous, serendipitous, adventitious, coincidental, unlooked-for
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  • 2incidental topredicative Liable to happen as a consequence of (an activity)

    ‘the ordinary risks incidental to a fireman's job’
    • ‘For instance, a charity has to refrain from political advocacy, unless such lobbying activity is merely incidental to the charitable purpose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Achieving this designation in public policy requires identifying opportunities both as a specific agenda and as incidental to other APA activities.’
    • ‘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 detail, expense, event, etc.

    ‘an allowance to cover meals, taxis, and other incidentals’
    • ‘Meals, recreational activities, and incidentals are out-of-pocket expenses.’
    • ‘The Defence Travel Card is a corporate credit card used to pay for business travel expenses including accommodation, meals, incidentals and surface travel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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
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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

/ˌɪnsəˈdɛn(t)l//ˌinsəˈden(t)l/