accidental

accidental, casual, fortuitous, contingent, incidental, adventitious. The last five of these words are synonyms of accidental but not always of one another.
Accidental denotes simply either happening by chance
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an accidental meeting

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or not of the real or essential nature of a thing
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the essential and the accidental values of a college education

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Casual, fortuitous, and contingent come into comparison with accidental in the first of these senses; incidental and adventitious chiefly in the second sense.
Casual so strongly stresses absence of prearrangement or premeditation that it tends to obscure the implication of chance
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a casual discovery

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it was no casual re-encounter. He had been enticed into the place . . . with some sinister and perhaps deadly purpose— Froude

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As applied to persons, their actions, their clothes, it often implies heedlessness or indifference
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this strange landscape, which seemed so dull to the casual view— Rourke

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[the rector] had been very casual about visiting his parishioners— Mackenzie

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Sometimes it is the appearance of carelessness or nonchalance and not the reality that is suggested
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this sense of an audience made him deliberately casual in his bearing— H. G. Wells

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Fortuitous so strongly implies chance that it sometimes connotes the absence, or seeming absence, of a cause
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the good frame of the universe was not the product of chance or fortuitous concourse of particles of matter— Hale

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Contingent implies both possibility and uncertainty, the former because that which is so described may come about, the latter because the outcome is unpredictable owing to the possible operation of chance, of unseen causes, or of the possible influence of unforeseen events. Contingent is therefore always applied to what may come
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the contingent advantages of a new law are to be distinguished from those that are immediate and certain

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men are inclined . . . to resist a truth which discloses the contingent character of their existence— Niebuhr

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such arguments yield a provisional and contingent justification of moral beliefs— Sat. Review

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Incidental may or may not imply chance; it typically suggests a real and often a designed relationship, but one which is secondary and nonessential. An incidental advantage or gain is one that may have been foreseen or sought after but not regarded as of first importance; incidental expenses are those that must be provided for in a budget because they are normal contingencies though they cannot be enumerated under any of the usual headings
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the Irish question is only incidental to the larger question— J. R. Lowell

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although a great deal is heard about consumer and real estate credit controls, they are incidental to the control of overall bank credit— Eccles/c]

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Incidental sometimes implies contingency that amounts to a strong probability
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ills incidental to old age

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labor problems incidental to rapidly expanding factories— Amer. Guide Series: Mass.

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Adventitious conveys no necessary suggestion of chance but it does imply a lack of essential relationship. Something adventitious does not belong to the original and intrinsic nature of a thing but has been added
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in works of imagination and sentiment . . . meter is but adventitious to composition— Wordsworth

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Analogous words: haphazard, *random, hit-or-miss, chance: unintended, undesigned, unpurposed (see affirmative verbs at INTEND): contingent, *dependent, conditional
Antonyms: planned: essential
Contrasted words: intended, designed, purposed (see INTEND): plotted, projected, schemed (see corresponding verbs under PLAN n): *inherent, constitutional, intrinsic, ingrained: *innate, inborn

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Accidental — Ac ci*den tal, a. [Cf. F. accidentel, earlier accidental.] 1. Happening by chance, or unexpectedly; taking place not according to the usual course of things; casual; fortuitous; as, an accidental visit. [1913 Webster] 2. Nonessential; not… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • accidental — ACCIDENTÁL, Ă, accidentali, e, adj. Întâmplător; incidental. ♦ Secundar, neesenţial. – Din fr. accidentel. Trimis de ana zecheru, 29.07.2002. Sursa: DEX 98  ACCIDENTÁL adj. 1. v. întâmplător. 2. neesenţial, secundar. (Un aspect accidental al… …   Dicționar Român

  • accidental — adjetivo 1. Que no es esencial: asunto accidental, materia accidental. 2. Que ocurre al margen de lo acostumbrado, establecido o previsto: Fue un encuentro accidental, totalmente casual. 3. [Cargo] que tiene carácter provisional o interino:… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Accidental — may mean: * Accidental (music) * Accidental (album) , by Fred Frith * Accidental (biology), see Vagrancy (biology) * Accidental propertyee also* Accident …   Wikipedia

  • accidental — [ak΄sə dent′ l] adj. [ME < LL accidentalis: see ACCIDENT] 1. happening by chance; fortuitous 2. belonging but not essential; attributive; incidental 3. Music of an accidental n. 1. a nonessential quality or feature 2 …   English World dictionary

  • accidental — (Del lat. accidentālis). 1. adj. No esencial. 2. Casual, contingente. 3. Dicho de un cargo: Que se desempeña con carácter provisional. Director, secretario accidental. 4. Dicho de una sociedad: Que se establece sin formalidad jurídica. 5. Rel. Se …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • accidental — I adjective adventitious, casual, chance, coincidental, extrinsic, fortuitous, inadvertent, incidental, indeterminate, undesigned, undetermined, unexpected, unforeseen, unintended, unintentional, unpremeditated, unwitting associated concepts:… …   Law dictionary

  • Accidental — Ac ci*den tal, n. 1. A property which is not essential; a nonessential; anything happening accidentally. [1913 Webster] He conceived it just that accidentals . . . should sink with the substance of the accusation. Fuller. [1913 Webster] 2. pl.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Accidental — (v. lat.), zufällig; Accidentales Einkommen, so v.w. Accidenzien; Accidentales seröses Gewebe, Neubildung seröser, mit Flüssigkeiten gefüllter Kapseln an Stellen, wo durch Reibung u. Druck Schmelzung von Zellgewebszellen u. eine Glättung der sich …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • accidental — [adj] happening unexpectedly adventitious, casual, chance, coincidental, contingent, fluky*, fortuitous, inadvertent, incidental, random, uncalculated, unexpected, unforeseen, unintended, unintentional, unplanned; concepts 530,552 Ant. decided,… …   New thesaurus

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