Definition of accident noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈæksɪdənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈæksɪdənt//
    Motoring problems and accidents, Injuries
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  1. 1  [countable] an unpleasant event, especially in a vehicle, that happens unexpectedly and causes injury or damage a car/road/traffic accident He was killed in an accident. One in seven accidents is caused by sleepy drivers. The accident happened at 3 p.m. to have an accident a serious/minor accident a fatal accident (= in which somebody is killed) accidents in the home a climbing/riding accident Take out accident insurance before you go on your trip. I didn't mean to break it—it was an accident. Wordfinderaccident, ambulance, casualty, first aid, hospital, injure, paramedic, stretcher, victim, witness See related entries: Motoring problems and accidents, Injuries
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance Their early arrival was just an accident. It is no accident that men fill most of the top jobs in nursing. an accident of birth/fate/history (= describing facts and events that are due to chance or circumstances) Synonymsluckchance coincidence accident fate destinyThese are all words for things that happen or the force that causes them to happen.luck the force that causes good or bad things to happen to people:This ring has always brought me good luck.chance the way that some things happen without any cause that you can see or understand:The results could simply be due to chance.coincidence the fact of two things happening at the same time by chance, in a surprising way:They met through a series of strange coincidences.accident something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance:Their early arrival was just an accident.fate the power that is believed to control everything that happens and that cannot be stopped or changed:Fate decreed that she would never reach America.destiny the power that is believed to control events:I believe there’s some force guiding us—call it God, destiny or fate.fate or destiny? Fate can be kind, but this is an unexpected gift; just as often, fate is cruel and makes people feel helpless. Destiny is more likely to give people a sense of power: people who have a strong sense of destiny usually believe that they are meant to be great or do great things.Patterns by …luck/​chance/​coincidence/​accident It’s no coincidence/​accident that… pure/​sheer luck/​chance/​coincidence/​accident to believe in luck/​coincidences/​fate/​destiny
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (in the general sense ‘an event’): via Old French from Latin accident- ‘happening’, from the verb accidere, from ad- ‘towards, to’ + cadere ‘to fall’.Extra examples He was badly hurt in an accident involving two cars and a lorry. It happened, whether by accident or design, that Steve and I were the last two people to leave. It is no accident that men fill most of the top jobs. It’s just an accident of history that the city became part of the Soviet Union. She met with an accident while on holiday in Spain. The ambulance took only six minutes to reach the scene of the accident. The woman was involved in a road traffic accident. Their boat sank in a freak accident. a fatal road accident Every year in the United Kingdom more than 4 000 people die in accidents in the home. He claimed that Britain was European only as an accident of geography and that its interests really lay with the United States. I didn’t mean to break it—it was an accident. It is the first fatal accident to have occurred at the factory. It’s Dad. He’s had an accident at work. She broke her arm in a riding accident. The accident happened at 4.20 p.m. a climbing/​riding accident an accident of birth/​fate/​historyIdioms
    an accident/a disaster waiting to happen
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    a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave
    people say accidents will happen to tell somebody who has had an accident, for example breaking something, that it does not matter and they should not worry  in a way that is not planned or organized We met by accident at the airport. Helen got into acting purely by accident. opposite deliberately, on purpose (British English) a series of unfortunate events The whole affair has been a chapter of accidents from start to finish.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: accident