American English

Definition of accident noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//‑ˌdɛnt//
    jump to other results
  1. 1[countable] an unpleasant event, especially in a vehicle, that happens unexpectedly and causes injury or damage a car/highway/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 someone 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.
  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 high-paying jobs in finance. an accident of birth/fate/history (= describing facts and events that are due to chance or circumstances) Thesaurusluckchance 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:I discovered the book by accident while shopping for a birthday present.fate the power that is believed to control everything that happens and that cannot be stopped or changed:Fate decreed that she would not get married that day.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. Idioms
    an accident/a disaster waiting to happen
    jump to other results
    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
    accidents (will) happen
    jump to other results
    people say accidents (will) happen to tell someone who has had an accident, for example breaking something, that it does not matter and they should not worry
    by accident
    jump to other results
    in a way that is not planned or organized We met by accident at the airport. Helen got into acting purely by accident. She broke the vase by accident. opposite deliberately
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: accident