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Definition of "accidental" []

  • Occurring unexpectedly, unintentionally, or by chance. (adjective)
  • Music Of or relating to an accidental. (adjective)
  • A property, factor, or attribute that is not essential. (noun)
  • Music Any of various signs that indicate the alteration of a note by one or two semitones or the cancellation of a previous sign. (noun)
  • Music A note that has been marked with such a sign. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "accidental" in a sentence
  • "Reporters soon adopted the phrase accidental attack, a description that frustrated Pentagon officials, who felt it minimized the ferocity of the sustained assault that had killed or injured two out of every three men on board."
  • "Nor again (b) will ‘white’ have another term accidental to it, e.g. ‘musical’."
  • "In 2007, Greg Parks was prepping his kids for the Florida state test, but in what he calls an accidental peek at the test, the middle-school math teacher noticed a troubling choice of words: Instead of asking kids about the volume of a can — the example he and the textbooks had been using — the test asked about the volume of a swimming pool."