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

  • adj. Occurring or likely to occur as an unpredictable or minor accompaniment: the snags incidental to a changeover in upper management. See Synonyms at accidental.
  • adj. Of a minor, casual, or subordinate nature: incidental expenses.
  • n. A minor accompanying item or expense: a pocket in the suitcase for incidentals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Loosely associated; existing as a byproduct, tangent, or accident.
  • adj. Entering or approaching, prior to reflection (more frequently incident).
  • n. Incidental expense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Happening, as an occasional event, without regularity; coming without design; casual; accidental; hence, not of prime concern; subordinate; collateral
  • n. An incident; that which is incidental; esp., in the plural, an aggregate of subordinate or incidental items not particularized.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Occurring, inseparably or fortuitously, in conjunction with something else, usually of greater importance; of minor importance; occasional; casual: as incidental expenses.
  • Synonyms Chance, Casual, etc. See accidental.
  • n. Something subordinate or casual: often used in the plural to mean minor expenses.

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

  • adj. following or accompanying as a consequence
  • n. (frequently plural) an expense not budgeted or not specified
  • adj. (sometimes followed by `to') minor or casual or subordinate in significance or nature or occurring as a chance concomitant or consequence
  • adj. not of prime or central importance
  • n. an item that is incidental


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose proposal to cut Wisconsin's spending would have what he characterizes as the incidental effect of stripping state workers of their bargaining rights, had this to say: Although my only goal is to put Wisconsin back on its fiscal feet, I can't help but note that if we'd had a fence around the state three weeks ago, you wouldn't see state employees out in front of my office today marching around and carrying signs.

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  • As I wrote Down and Delirious in Mexico City I practiced what might be called incidental research.

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  • Ibsen had never intended Peer Gynt to be staged, but in 1874 when his ‘dramatic poem’ was going into its third printing he decided to adapt it as a play, and it was to Grieg that his thoughts turned when the idea of incidental music first surfaced in his mind.

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  • The expenses that MPs claim -- on everything from staff costs of over £100,000 to the additional cost allowance of up to £24,006 and a so-called incidental-expenses provision of £22,190 -- have soared.

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  • These trade deficits are structural not incidental, that is, we are not importing products to produce or make us more efficient, we are importing products to consume.

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  • The hold is determined by sum of three factors, the length of stay, room rate and tax, and something called the incidental factor.

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  • In the most eye-popping result, the absence of a photograph was associated with an 80% drop in so-called incidental findings, such as when a search for kidney stones turns up a tumor.

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  • And a lot of times what you find, is you found these what are called incidental findings.

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  • SIRA addresses ephemeral downloads, or what the EFF refers to as incidental downloads, meaning any content that is either temporary or cached in a computer.

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  • Matthee said it was impossible for the link between the ANC and certain events to be called incidental any longer.

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