from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In philosophy, the opinion that events are sometimes modified without adequate cause: a use of the word proposed by J. M. Baldwin.
  • noun The condition or quality of being accidental; accidental character.
  • noun That which is accidental; accidental effect; specifically, in painting, the effect produced by accidental rays of light. Ruskin. See accidental, n., , and accidental light, under accidental, a.
  • noun In medicine, the hypothesis by which disease is regarded as an accidental modification of health.

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

  • noun Accidental character or effect.

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

  • noun Accidental character or effect.
  • noun The belief that outward appearance often contrasts with substance or essence (after Thomas Aquinas).
  • noun A system of medicine based on belief that symptoms of disease are caused by external factors.
  • noun The belief that events happen by random chance, without cause or purpose.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • A trend is apparently emerging in   modern thought, which we might call “accidentalism”: everything important is an accident.

    Letters to the Editor

  • But because the ambiguities of accidentalism at this time had to be conceptualized by alternative characterizations of God as either the rational or the capricious Uncreated Being, the result for men was fideistic optimism or nescience.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • Using biblical language and talking about restored Christianity and the Great Apostasy is not only meaningless in those two contexts, it is embarassingly parochial, like introducing the medieval controversy of nominalism versus accidentalism in the middle of a contemporary presidential debate. mike:

    Zelophehad's Daughters


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