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. Shak.

Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident: It is the very place God meant for thee. Trench.

2. Gram.

A property attached to a word, but not essential to it, as gender, number, case.

3. Her.

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.