(redirected from Accidents)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
Related to Accidents: road accidents

accident of birth

Any and all particulars surrounding one's birth (physical characteristics, social background, and even nationality) that are considered a result of parentage and the specific circumstances of birth, and are therefore entirely out of one's control. My poverty when I was young was merely an accident of birth; through hard work and determination, I was able to overcome it and lead a successful life.
See also: accident, birth, of

happy accident

A mistake or unplanned event that results in a beneficial outcome or pleasant surprise. The creation of penicillin was a happy accident that resulted from Alexander Fleming's discovery of mold growing in his agar plates.
See also: accident, happy

an accident waiting to happen

A person, thing, or situation that appears to be imminently dangerous or troublesome. Often but not always used somewhat humorously. Don't leave that ladder in the middle of the yard, it's just an accident waiting to happen! My toddler is starting to walk now, and she is just an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

be a chapter of accidents

To be characterized by multiple problems or mishaps. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Despite all of our planning, the birthday party was a chapter of accidents.
See also: accident, chapter, of

accidents (will) happen

Mishaps and setbacks are just a natural and inevitable part of life. This phrase is often said in an attempt to comfort someone after an accident has happened. A: "I am so sorry that I backed into your car!" B: "That's OK, accidents will happen." I know you didn't mean to spill your juice, sweetheart—accidents happen.
See also: accident, happen

(whether) by accident or design

Intentionally or not. Whether by accident or design, those high school kids have really created a solid, sustainable business.
See also: accident, design

Accidents will happen.

Prov. It is impossible to completely prevent things from going wrong. (Often used to console someone who has made a mistake or caused an accident.) Child: Mommy, I spilled grape juice all over the carpet! Mother: Don't cry, honey. Accidents will happen. Jill: I'm so embarrassed. I was just tapping on your window to wake you up. I didn't mean to break it. Jane: Accidents will happen.
See also: Accident, happen, will

have an accident

1. to experience something that was not foreseen or intended. Traffic is very bad. I almost had an accident. Drive carefully. Try to avoid having an accident.
2. Euph. to lose control of the bowels or the bladder. (Usually said of a young child.) "Oh, Ann," cried Mother. "It looks like you've had an accident!" Mother asked Billy to go to the bathroom before they left so that he wouldn't have an accident in the car.
See also: accident, have

an accident waiting to happen

a very dangerous situation in which an accident is very likely The speed that people drive along this road, it's an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

(whether) by accident or design

whether intended to be this way or not The system, whether by accident or design, benefits people who live in the cities more than people who live in the country.
See also: accident, design

more by accident than (by) design

because of luck and not because of skill I kicked the ball and, more by accident than design, it found its way into the net.
See also: accident, design, more

accidents will happen

something that you say in order to make someone feel less guilty when they have just damaged something that does not belong to them Oh well, accidents will happen. I can always buy another bowl.
See also: accident, happen, will

be a chapter of accidents

  (British & Australian formal)
to be a series of unpleasant events The whole trip was a chapter of accidents.
See also: accident, chapter, of

a happy accident

a pleasant situation or event that is not planned or intended We never planned to have a third child - it was a happy accident.
See also: accident, happy
References in classic literature ?
Thus ended my hopes of the widow by an accident which could not have been anticipated, to be sure, but which the natural sequence of events had brought about.
While I stood bewildered at the suddenness of this accident, (which might have happened, nevertheless, to any one under the sun), and while I still continued incapable of sight, I was accosted by the Angel of the Odd, who proffered me his aid with a civility which I had no reason to expect.
The figures have been gathered, and it has been proved conclusively that accidents rarely occur in the first hours of the morning work, but that they increase rapidly in the succeeding hours as the workers grow tired and slower in both their muscular and mental processes.
With the exception of the terrible details, Jackson's story of his accident was the same as that I had already heard.
Had an accident then happened to the sledge, the travellers, attacked by these beasts, would have been in the most terrible danger; but it held on its even course, soon gained on the wolves, and ere long left the howling band at a safe distance behind.
It was an accident, and deplorable - most deplorable.
Never, by accident, in this deliberate game, did he hurt her chin or cheek so severely as he hurt his own tender nose, but in the hurt itself he found more of delight than pain.
I got to the station and gave him the telegram, just as the accident took place.
You have been in a railway accident," the doctor told him, "and you were brought here afterwards.
Pollyanna was a little late for supper on the night of the accident to John Pendleton; but, as it happened, she escaped without reproof.
It was about a week after the accident in Pendleton Woods that Pollyanna said to her aunt one morning:
The accident fell out in Appin -- mind ye that, Alan; it's Appin that must pay; and I am a man that has a family.
I am but poor company altogether, sir," says he, "but I can think of nothing but this dreadful accident, and the trouble it is like to bring upon quite innocent persons.
Varya," he said, looking sternly at her, "I shot myself by accident.
Some fatal accident has happened to her on those rocks.