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

  • n. A definite and separate occurrence; an event. See Synonyms at occurrence.
  • n. A usually minor event or condition that is subordinate to another.
  • n. Something contingent on or related to something else.
  • n. An occurrence or event that interrupts normal procedure or precipitates a crisis: an international incident.
  • adj. Tending to arise or occur as a result or accompaniment: "There is a professional melancholy . . . incident to the occupation of a tailor” ( Charles Lamb).
  • adj. Related to or dependent on another thing.
  • adj. Physics Falling upon or striking a surface: incident radiation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An event or occurrence.
  • n. A relatively minor event that is incidental to, or related to others
  • n. An event that may cause or causes an interruption or a crisis
  • n. In safety, an incident of workplace illness or injury
  • adj. Arising as the result of an event, inherent
  • adj. (of a stream of particles or radiation) falling on or striking a surface (e.g. "The incident light illuminated the surface.")

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Falling or striking upon, as a ray of light upon a reflecting surface.
  • adj. Coming or happening accidentally; not in the usual course of things; not in connection with the main design; not according to expectation; casual; fortuitous.
  • adj. Liable to happen; apt to occur; befalling; hence, naturally happening or appertaining.
  • adj. Dependent upon, or appertaining to, another thing, called the principal.
  • n. That which falls out or takes place; an event; casualty; occurrence.
  • n. That which happens aside from the main design; an accidental or subordinate action or event.
  • n. Something appertaining to, passing with, or depending on, another, called the principal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Falling or striking upon something, as a ray of light or a projectile; impinging or acting upon anything from without.
  • Likely to happen; apt to occur; hence, naturally appertaining; necessarily conjoined.
  • Appertaining to or following another thing; conjoined as a subordinate to a principal thing; appurtenant: as, rent is incident to a reversion.
  • Subordinate; casual; incidental.
  • n. That which falls out or takes place; an occurrence; something which takes place in connection with an event or a series of events of greater importance.
  • n. A thing necessarily or frequently depending upon, appertaining to, or legally passing with another that is the principal or more important; a natural or characteristic accompaniment.
  • n. In decorative art, the representation of any action, often much conventionalized, but still to be recognized: thus, a frieze may consist of a number of incidents relating collectively some historical event.
  • Same as afferent
  • : noting the nerves which convey impressions from the periphery to the nervous centers.

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

  • adj. (sometimes followed by `to') minor or casual or subordinate in significance or nature or occurring as a chance concomitant or consequence
  • n. a public disturbance
  • n. a single distinct event
  • adj. falling or striking of light rays on something


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

Middle English, from Old French, apt to happen, an incident, from Latin incidēns, incident-, present participle of incidere, to happen : in-, on; see in-2 + cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since 1412, from Latin incidens, the present active participle of incidō ("to happen, befall"), itself from in- ("on") + -cidō, the combining form of cadō ("to fall").



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