General English

General Science

  • noun an event or happening which interrupts usual activities



  • That which strikes, or otherwise falls upon a surface or body. For example, light which is falls upon a photosensitive material, or sound waves striking a diaphragm.
  • An action or occurrence. It is similar to an event (1), but an event may imply a more significant happening than an incident.
  • In communications and computers, an incident (2) with possible adverse consequences, such as a security breach.


  • noun something which happens at a particular time, e.g. a crime, accident or violent event


  • noun a significant event (such as an accident, explosion, terrorist attack, etc.)

Origin & History of “incident”

An incident is literally that which ‘befalls’. In common with accident and occident, and a wide range of other English words, from cadaver to occasion, it comes ultimately from Latin cadere ‘fall’. this was combined with the prefix in- ‘on’ to produce incidere ‘fall on’, hence ‘befall, happen to’. Its present participial stem incident- passed into English either directly or via French. The use of a word that literally means ‘fall’ to denote the concept of ‘happening’ is quite a common phenomenon. It occurs also in befall and chance, and operates in other languages than English; Welsh digwydd ‘happen’, for instance, is derived from cwyddo ‘fall’.