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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000

    accident / incident

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me and show just cause for the difference between “accident” and “incident”? I know that the word “accident” should not be confused with the word “incident”. But for the present I’m failing that.

    accident = an unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm: car accidents on icy roads.

    I know that “accident” is a chance event bringing injury or loss. It is very broad in its application, being used of events that involve persons or things, of injuries or losses, serious or slight.

    He was injured (or crippled) in an accident.

    There are such phraseological combinations as: an awful accident, a dreadful accident, a frightful accident, a horrible accident, a nasty accident, an unavoidable accident, an unfortunate accident.

    But on the other hand I know that there is another meaning of the term in question:

    accident = an unforeseen incident: A series of happy accidents led to his promotion.

    accident = chance, luck

    It was pure accident that we met.
    We discovered her by accident.
    It was by pure accident that we found money.

    An “incident” is an occurrence of secondary importance, a happening having little relation to major events.

    The book contains a series of amusing incidents.
    He was delighted and looked upon the incident as an adventure.
    This incident, along with the earlier ValuJet crash, led to closer FAA oversight of airline ...

    Would you be kind enough to xplain to me also the meaning of the expressions below?

    accidental death
    accidental pregnancy
    accidental birth

    For example “The accidental birth of civilization”.

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 364

    Re: accident / incident

    If a policeman was called to a car crash, that would be an accident.
    If he is then called to break up two men fighting, that would be an incident.

    The first is an unfortunate chance event, the second is just an event that he must deal with. So the policeman spends his day responding to incidents, but only some of them are accidents.

    So what if he receives a report of a drunk being a nuisance in the shopping mall? accident or incident?

    Its an incident.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: accident / incident

    incident: an event or occurrence, often arising because of deliberate human behaviour eg
    of an assault : "One person was stabbed in the incident."
    a hostile clash between forces of rival countries.

    accident: an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury
    a crash involving road or other vehicles, typically one that causes serious damage or injury : "Four people were killed in a car accident."
    (The two drivers did not intentionally drive into each other.)
    X:"He had an accident."
    Y: "What happened?"
    X: "He fell off a ladder and broke his leg."

    (The man did not deliberately fall off the ladder.)

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