From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishaccidentac‧ci‧dent /ˈæksɪdənt/ ●●● S2 W2 noun 1 → by accident2 ACCIDENT[countable] an event in which a car, train, plane etc is damaged and often someone is hurt Over 70,000 people are seriously injured every year in road accidents. The accident happened at the junction of Forest Road and Pine Walk. a train accident3 ACCIDENT[countable] a situation in which someone is injured or something is damaged without anyone intending them to be Ken had an accident at work and had to go to hospital. I’m sorry about breaking the vase – it was an accident (=I did not intend to do it).a climbing/skiing/hunting etc accident He died in a climbing accident in the Himalayas. She was injured in a freak accident (=an unusual accident) when a wall suddenly collapsed. I had a slight accident with your coffee. They lost their lives in a tragic accident.4 CHANCE/BY CHANCE[countable, uncountable] something that happens without anyone planning or intending it My third baby was an accident. It is no accident that men fill most of the top jobs in nursing, while women remain on the lower grades.an accident of birth/geography/history etc (=an event or situation caused by chance)5 → accidents (will) happen6 → an accident waiting to happenCOLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: an event in which a car, train, plane etc is damaged and often someone is hurtadjectivesa bad/serious accidentThere’s been a bad accident on the freeway.The road is closed following a serious accident.a major accidentNews is coming in of a major rail accident.a horrible/nasty/horrific accidentWe narrowly avoided a nasty accident.‘This was an absolutely horrific accident, ’ said an ambulance spokesman.a fatal accident (=in which someone is killed)a fatal accident involving a bus and a cyclista minor accident (=one that is not serious)The ice and poor visibility caused minor accidents all over the country.a road/traffic accidentThe number of traffic accidents has gone down.Portugal has one of Western Europe’s worst road accident rates.a car accident (also an automobile accident American English formal)He was badly injured in a car accident.a plane accident/an airplane accident American English (also a flying accident)Holly died in a plane accident.a rail accident/a train accidentIt was the country's worst ever rail accident.a hit-and-run accident (=when someone is hit by a driver who does not stop)A woman is fighting for her life after a hit-and-run accident.verbsbe involved in an accident formal:Your son has been involved in a car accident.prevent an accidentSteps have been taken to prevent a similar accident happening again.an accident happens (also an accident occurs formal)No one saw the accident happen.Most road accidents occur in urban areas.have an accidentYoung drivers are more likely to have accidents than older drivers.accident + NOUNan accident victimOne of the accident victims is still trapped in his vehicle.accident rates/statisticsThere is a relation between accident rates and the numbers of drivers on the road.a survey of the latest airline accident statisticsan accident investigation/inquiryThe two deaths are the subject of an accident inquiry.Accident investigations often take months.an accident investigatorAccident investigators have been there all morning.phrasesthe scene of an accident (=the place where it happened)Police were at the scene of the accident within minutes.COMMON ERRORS ► Don’t say ‘a small accident’. Say a minor accident. THESAURUSaccident an event in which a vehicle is damaged and often someone is hurtHer father died in a car accident.Hugh had an accident on his way to work.crash a serious accident in which a vehicle hits something elseRees-Jones was the only person to survive the crash.a car/plane/train crashHe was killed in a plane crash.collision an accident in which two or more cars, trains etc hit each otherHis car was involved in a collision with a train. | a head-on collision (=between vehicles that are driving towards each other)The actor was killed in a head-on collision while driving his new sports car.disaster a serious accident involving a train, plane, or boat, in which a lot of people are killed or injuredIt was Britain’s worst air disaster.wreck American English an accident in which a car or train is badly damagedBen nearly died in a car wreck.pileup an accident that involves several cars or trucksThe pileup happened in thick fog.There was a 12-car pileup on the motorway.fender-bender American English informal, prang British English informal a car accident in which little damage is doneAtkinson was involved in a fender-bender in the hotel parking lot.At 15, he borrowed his parents’ car and had a prang.
Examples from the Corpusaccident• A 47-year-old man died after an accident involving a 17-ton loading shovel at the Redland Aggregates site at Barham.• Brussels airport was closed today after an accident on the runway.• Robert had an accident in the lab. He was opening a bottle of acid and he spilt some on his hands.• I'm really sorry about breaking your camera - it was an accident.• The data for risk ratings and accident estimates were considered separately and are plotted in Figures 4.1 and 4.2 respectively.• She was in an automobile accident, but she's not seriously hurt.• Improvements in technology do not come by accident.• Sometimes when he was playing in the house, he would bump into his father by accident.• Both her parents had been killed in a car accident.• Homicide is 28 times greater and car accidents are 45 ti mes greater.• My parents had died when I was five, in a freak car accident.• Voters rejected measures to ban most lawsuits resulting from car accidents, limit shareholder lawsuits and slash lawyers' contingency fees.• Men have twice as many fatal accidents as women do for every mile they drive.• The number of fatal accidents in the construction industry has dropped dramatically in recent years.• I only met her again through a fortunate accident.• Teenage boys tend to drive wildly and often have accidents.• She has been in almost constant pain since her accident.• As usual, the fog and icy roads had led to several very nasty accidents.• It is no accident that most of the country's outstanding public schools are in wealthy communities.• Most serious accidents in the home involve electrical equipment or hot liquids.• His best friend was killed in a skiing accident.• The accident happened on Interstate 84, during the evening rush hour.had ... accident• It had been sent by her aunt's neighbour who reported that Bertha had had an accident.• He says ... he says one of the cars has had an accident in the rain.• Anyway, Herb had an accident and broke his leg.• When I was seven I had an accident.• Ken had an accident at work and had to go to the hospital.• Then as soon as the last act goes up Bobby will ring for a doctor and say that Bunty's had an accident.• I know from experience because of the jumping, she's had accidents before.• If she had an accident, she'd go mad, yet she didn't seem to want to try.• There would be no Felipe to spring to her aid when she had an accident or a toothache.an accident of birth/geography/history etc• But even Labour v Tories is better than a party-political system which depends on religion, and an accident of birth.• A sad, tragic man trapped by an accident of birth.• But some goods stations were by an accident of history very grand.• William is your father in everything, except an accident of birth.• Clearly it was just an accident of history, a fluke, a momentary incursion of an otherwise universal pandemic.• Though immensely talented and charismatic, his success may be as much an accident of history as anything.Origin accident (1300-1400) French Latin accidens “additional quality, chance”, from accidere “to happen”, from ad- “to” + cadere “to fall”