accident of birth


Also found in: Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

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
References in classic literature ?
The crowds of men who merely spoke the Greek and Latin tongues in the Middle Ages were not entitled by the accident of birth to read the works of genius written in those languages; for these were not written in that Greek or Latin which they knew, but in the select language of literature.
It was voted low to sneer at Dobbin about this accident of birth. "Old Figs" grew to be a name of kindness and endearment; and the sneak of an usher jeered at him no longer.
(10) Their argument would go something like this: If we don't think the accident of birth is important enough to determine who should lead the nation, why should we think it's important enough to determine who can be a member of the nation?
Those who are Welsh 'indeed' are obviously more Welsh than those who are Welsh due to an accident of birth.
SIR Lenny Henry has told how studying for a degree changed his life, as he said that education is a right for everyone, not an "accident of birth".
EDUCATION is not an "accident of birth" but a right for everyone, comedian Sir Lenny Henry said as he became a university chancellor yesterday.
I blame their parents, for teaching them that being white is some sort of achievement instead of a meaningless accident of birth."
Titled 'A good education should not be an accident of birth, geography, gender or race...
And, addressing the Indian gentleman who had posed the question, she said: 'You are an Indian by accident of birth; I am an Indian by choice.'
She expresses concern for "borders that are rapidly closing for Syrians and Iraqis fleeing ISIS violence in their own countries, leaving them with no option but to make dangerous sea crossings and walk through Europe, illegally crossing borders until they can hope to claim asylum" and ponders why "the passport one holds - an accident of birth, in most cases - makes some people worthy of safety and compassion, and others not." Attacks by Islamic State terrorists in Syria, Iraq and beyond pose consequences for refugees fleeing communities throughout the Middle East and moderate Muslims.
For the first time, innovation, technical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills - rather than an accident of birth - were rewarded with wealth.
"I do love my role but am very aware I am here because of an accident of birth and live with the overwhelming sensation that I haven't done anything to deserve it."
The reason being one of them is a nationalist party, ie one with policies that are intrinsically based on exclusion, on the basis of an accident of birth, whereas what I'm attracted to is the kind of inclusion that can only be found in left-of-centre progressive politics.
* Historian Dominic Sandbrook "This is the 21st century and to simply rely on an accident of birth to provide us with a new head of state is simply not acceptable anymore.
Leading Labour councillor Phil Townshend said: "We must do something about people dying 12 years younger in some wards of the city than others, meaning an accident of birth can determine health outcomes."
Full browser ?