Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The section of morphology that deals with the inflections of words.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That part of grammar which treats of the accidents or inflection of words; a small book containing the rudiments of grammar.
  • noun Hence The rudiments of any subject.
  • noun A fortuitous circumstance; an accident.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The accidents, of inflections of words; the rudiments of grammar.
  • noun The rudiments of any subject.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun grammar The accidents, of inflections of words; the rudiments of grammar. - John Milton
  • noun A book containing the first principles of grammar, and so of the rudiments of any subject or art.
  • noun The rudiments of any subject. - James Russell Lowell

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the part of grammar that deals with the inflections of words

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Late Latin accidentia, from Latin accidēns, accident-, accident; see accident.]

Examples

  • Roman subjects is like a language with a delicate accidence, which is always presenting the unwary with pitfalls into which they are sure to blunder unless they have a thorough mastery of it.

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

  • This word was to include the 'accidence' of language with the fewest possible words; algebra with the least possible arithmetic ...

    Memoir and Letters of Francis W. Newman

  • As the career management team is fond of saying, no one gets into Ivey by accidence.

    Why Choose Ivey : Law is Cool

  • If the cause of suffering is accidence then the suffering itself is accidental: it could as readily have been bliss.

    Refutation in verse

  • If the cause of suffering is accidence then the suffering itself is accidental: it could as readily have been bliss.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • I read it in Latin, and it says: the substances, that is human beings or cats are a composition of real components, but the accidence for example the colour white, though can be defined with genus and differentia, has only a mental composition.

    Clarification

  • Or is the “statistic” to use your own term a matter of historical accidence?

    On reading narrowly

  • Hold up a sec--I just want to be sure you think the absence of women from the lists of great 16th C. playwrights is "a matter of historical accidence" and not, like, a matter of deeply discriminatory policies.

    On reading narrowly

  • Sanglier to say if he is instructed in the more mysterious and secret terms of the science, by which the more learned do emblematically, and as it were parabolically, express to each other what is conveyed to others in the ordinary language, taught in the very accidence as it were of

    Quentin Durward

  • Since the accidence of birth occasions one the colour of one's skin, "inequality ... did not need to be analysed, it could be taken as a condition."

    ANC Today

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