Ac"ci*dent (#), n. [F. accident, fr. L. accidens, -dentis, p. pr. of accidere to happen; ad + cadere to fall. See Cadence, Case.]
Literally, a befalling; an event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event; chance; contingency; often, an undesigned and unforeseen occurrence of an afflictive or unfortunate character; a casualty; a mishap; as, to die by an accident.
Of moving accidents by flood and field.
Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident:
It is the very place God meant for thee.
A property attached to a word, but not essential to it, as gender, number, case.
A point or mark which may be retained or omitted in a coat of arms.
4. Log. (a)
A property or quality of a thing which is not essential to it, as whiteness in paper; an attribute.
A quality or attribute in distinction from the substance, as sweetness, softness.
Any accidental property, fact, or relation; an accidental or nonessential; as, beauty is an accident.
This accident, as I call it, of Athens being situated some miles from the sea.
J. P. Mahaffy.
Unusual appearance or effect.
⇒ Accident, in Law, is equivalent to casus, or such unforeseen, extraordinary, extraneous interference as is out of the range of ordinary calculation.
© Webster 1913.