- happening by chance; fortuitous
- belonging but not essential; attributive; incidental
- Music of an accidental
Origin of accidentalMiddle English from Late Latin accidentalis: see accident
- a nonessential quality or feature
- a sign, as a sharp, flat, or natural, placed before a note to show a change of pitch from that indicated by the key signature
- the tone indicated by such a sign
- Occurring unexpectedly, unintentionally, or by chance.
- Music Of or relating to an accidental.
- Being an animal, especially a bird, that has strayed beyond its normal range.
- A property, factor, or attribute that is not essential.
- Music a. Any of various signs that indicate the alteration of a note by one or two semitones or the cancellation of a previous sign.b. A note that has been marked with such a sign.
- An animal that has strayed beyond its normal range.
- ac′ci·den′tal·ly ac′ci·dent′ly
left to right: G natural, G flat, G sharp
(comparative more accidental, superlative most accidental)
- Happening by chance, or unexpectedly; taking place not according to the usual course of things; casual; fortuitous
- an accidental visit
- Nonessential; not necessary belonging; incidental
- are accidental to a play
- (music) Foreign to the key signature or a proper harmony.
- (geometry) Being a double point with two distinct tangent planes in 4-dimensional projective space.
- We speak of a thing as accidental when it falls out as by chance, and not in the regular course of things; as, an accidental meeting, an accidental advantage, etc.
- We call a thing incidental when it falls, as it were, into some regular course of things, but is secondary, and forms no essential part thereof; as, an incidental remark, an incidental evil, an incidental benefit.
- We speak of a thing as casual, when it falls out or happens, as it were, by mere chance, without being prearranged or premeditated; as, a casual remark or encounter; a casual observer. An idea of the unimportant is attached to what is casual.
- Fortuitous is applied to what occurs without any known cause, and in opposition to what has been foreseen; as, a fortuitous concourse of atoms.
- We call a thing contingent when it is such that, considered in itself, it may or may not happen, but is dependent for its existence on something else; as, the time of my coming will be contingent on intelligence yet to be received.
- A property which is not essential; a nonessential; anything happening accidentally.
- (painting, plural only) Those fortuitous effects produced by luminous rays falling on certain objects so that some parts stand forth in abnormal brightness and other parts are cast into a deep shadow.
- (music) A sharp, flat, or natural, occurring not at the commencement of a piece of music as the signature, but before a particular note.
- First attested in 1386.
- accident + -al
- Compare French accidentel, earlier accidental.