accident


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(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, by, design

a chapter of accidents

A situation or series of events 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

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

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

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

by accident

Mistakenly or unintentionally. Uh oh, I must have left those files out by accident. Many great scientific discoveries happened entirely by accident.
See also: accident, by

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

have an accident

1. To unintentionally do or experience something, usually with unpleasant consequences. Yeah, I had a little accident while trying to carry all those drinks. Can you bring me some towels? Did you hear that Aunt Marie had an accident and broke her foot?
2. To urinate or defecate somewhere other than a toilet. Can you call the janitor? The patient in this hospital room has had an accident.
See also: accident, have

more by accident than (by) design

Due more to coincidence or luck than to one's own skill or planning. To be honest, I feel like the massive popularity of the app is more by accident than by design. A: "This stew is delicious!" B: "Thanks, but it's really more by accident than design."
See also: accident, by, design, more

more by accident than (by) judgment

Due more to coincidence or luck than to one's own skill or planning. To be honest, I feel like the massive popularity of the app is more by accident than by judgment. A: "This stew is delicious!" B: "Thanks, but it's really more by accident than judgment."
See also: accident, by, judgment, more
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

an accident waiting to happen

COMMON
1. If you describe a situation or activity as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to be a cause of danger in the future. A lot of the city's buildings are accidents waiting to happen. The sudden explosion of a real bullet on stage during the play was an accident waiting to happen.
2. If you describe a person as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to cause trouble or have bad problems. He was getting a reputation for being wild — an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

accidents will happen

People say accidents will happen to mean that accidents are a normal part of life and you should not blame anyone or be too upset about them. One of the things our society will not appreciate is that accidents will happen. We still look for meaning when pointless tragedy occurs.
See also: accident, happen, will

a chapter of accidents

BRITISH, FORMAL
If you talk about a chapter of accidents, you mean a series of unlucky events. Luckily for him, few people were witness to this chapter of accidents. In fiction, however, such a chapter of accidents can end up seeming comic. Note: This expression has been used many times by various writers. One of the earliest uses is `the chapter of accidents is the longest chapter in the book', the book being the story of a person's life or a record of a particular event.
See also: accident, chapter, of
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

an accident waiting to happen

1 a potentially disastrous situation, usually caused by negligent or faulty procedures. 2 a person certain to cause trouble.
1 1997 Times Accidents are often said to be ‘waiting to happen’. It does not take much imagination to see that the chaotic start to the Whitbread round-the-world race…could easily have ended in tragedy.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

accidents will happen

however careful you try to be, it is inevitable that some unfortunate or unforeseen events will occur.
This phrase is a shortened form of the early 19th-century proverb ‘accidents will happen in the best regulated families’.
See also: accident, happen, will

a chapter of accidents

a series of unfortunate events.
This expression was apparently coined by Lord Chesterfield in a letter to Solomon Dayrolles in 1753 : ‘The chapter of knowledge is a very short, but the chapter of accidents is a very long one’.
See also: accident, chapter, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by ˈaccident

in a way that is not planned or organized: We met by accident at the airport.Helen got into acting purely by accident.
See also: accident, by

(whether) by ˌaccident or deˈsign

if you say that something happens by accident or design, you mean that you do not know if it has been planned or not: Mary was wearing the same T-shirt as me — whether by accident or design, I never knew.
See also: accident, by, design

ˌaccidents will ˈhappen

(saying) said when a small accident has happened, for example when something has been broken, to show that you do not consider it to be serious, or to excuse yourself for causing it: ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve just broken a plate.’ ‘Oh, never mind, accidents will happen.’
See also: accident, happen, will

a ˌchapter of ˈaccidents

a series of unlucky events or mistakes in a short period of time: The reorganization of the company has been a chapter of accidents!
See also: accident, chapter, of

an ˌaccident/a diˌsaster waiting to ˈhappen

a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave: For many months local residents had been complaining that the building was unsafe, and that it was an accident waiting to happen.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

accident waiting to happen, an

A recipe for disaster. The phrase is used for such diverse circumstances as a large pothole causing an auto accident, an airplane flight on a collision course, or a small leak that ends in a billion-dollar oil spill like that in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It appears in the lyrics of several popular songs, such as the one quoted above.
See also: accident, waiting
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Narok East OCPD Benjamin Mwanzia said the accident occurred when the authority's vehicle crashed into a lorry.
One of these barriers involves NTSB accident reports and data itself--a foundation of the GAJSC's approach to developing mitigations--which all too often focuses on the final events in the accident chain and not the real root causes of many accidents.
They also pointed out that the annual loss the city suffered due to road accidents was estimated to be Rs47.8 billion.
He further said Sweden and some other European countries have opted precautionary measures and their death tolls in road accidents have drastically decreased.
The accident data set gathered from the traffic police department based on the FIRs indicated that a total of 702 fatal pedestrian accidents were reported in Lahore from the years 2012 to 2017.
ITARDA data are aggregated by the place the accident occurred, classified into three categories: urban areas (congested), urban areas (not congested), and non-urban areas.
Syunaliyeva, a director of the public foundation in honor of Temir Jumakadyrov, told about a comparative analysis of accidents in the world and Kyrgyzstan.
The force's statistics show a decrease in the accident mortality rate by 20 per cent during the past year, with 105 deaths, compared to 132 in 2016.
According to Funa, the new regulation is seen to help ease traffic congestion caused by vehicular accidents on the road."At present, the traffic congestion is aggravated after an accident due to the lack of police investigators in the vicinity which is attributed to the fact that policemen usually take time to arrive at the scene as they usually come from their respective precincts," Funa said.
Funa said the use of the traffic-accident investigation report can only be used as an alternative to the police report when the road accident causes bodily injury and damage to the motor vehicle.
The main task of this study was to analyze the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of aviation accidents in the Florida region from 2002 to 2017 and to determine the airports that have potential aviation accident risks and rank these airports according to the severity of aviation accidents.
By REITZ MUREITHIbrTwo people were seriously injured on Wednesday night at Sachangwan along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway after four vehicles were involved in an accident.The accident involved three lorries and one pick-up.
RIGA, Aug 27 (LETA) - Twenty people suffered injuries in road traffic accidents in Latvia on Monday, LETA was told at the State Police.
Making it onto the roundabout 'league of shame', we've compiled a list of the top 20 worst in the country - based on the number of accidents and casualties in the year July 2017 - 2018.
Car accidents in Egypt declined by a total of 2,618 cases in 2018, compared to 2017, according to the bulletin issued recently by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).