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How to pronounce incidental (audio)


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Dictionary definition of incidental

Secondary, minor, or occurring as a result of another primary event or circumstance.
"The injury was incidental and did not affect the athlete's performance."

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Detailed meaning of incidental

When applied to a situation, detail, or element, it signifies that it is not the main focus or purpose but rather an accompanying or coincidental aspect. Incidental expenses, for example, are costs that are not essential but arise in the course of a primary expenditure. In storytelling, an incidental character may briefly appear in the plot but does not play a significant role in the overall narrative. "Incidental" conveys the idea of something being tangential or secondary, often serving as a backdrop or peripheral element rather than the central point of interest. It emphasizes the notion that the particular detail or occurrence is not the primary concern but rather an auxiliary or minor component within a broader context.

Example sentences containing incidental

1. The damage to the car was incidental and not intentional.
2. The noise from the party was incidental to the disturbance.
3. The side effect of the medication was incidental and not harmful.
4. The incident was incidental to the main story but added a layer of complexity to the plot.
5. The cost of the material was incidental compared to the overall budget.
6. The mistake in the report was incidental and did not affect the overall conclusion.

History and etymology of incidental

The adjective 'incidental' has its linguistic roots in both Latin and English. It is derived from the Latin word 'incidens,' which is the present participle of 'incidere,' composed of 'in' (meaning 'on' or 'upon') and 'cadere' (meaning 'to fall'). The notion behind 'incidental' lies in something that 'falls upon' or happens alongside the main event or primary circumstance. In English, 'incidental' has retained this sense of being secondary or minor, often describing occurrences that are not the primary focus but rather happen as a result of or in conjunction with something else. Understanding its etymology, 'incidental' carries the idea of events or aspects that fall by the wayside when compared to the principal matter at hand.

Quiz: Find the meaning of incidental

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Further usage examples of incidental

1. The conversation was incidental to the purpose of the meeting.
2. The use of the word was incidental to the overall meaning of the sentence.
3. The accident was incidental to the driver's daily commute.
4. The delay in the delivery was incidental and caused by unforeseen circumstances.
5. The presence of the animal was incidental to the beauty of the scenery.
6. While he was part of the project team, his role was mostly incidental, with minimal impact on the overall outcome.
7. Fortunately, the damage to the car was purely incidental, and it was easily fixed without major repairs.
8. Her comment, although made during the meeting, was largely incidental to the main topic of discussion.
9. Be sure to account for any incidental expenses that may arise during your trip, as they are not included in the initial budget.
10. The noise from the construction site next door was merely incidental, and it didn't significantly disrupt our work.
11. His presence at the event was purely incidental, as he happened to be in the area and decided to drop by.
12. Their impromptu meeting in the hallway was purely incidental, not something they had planned in advance.
13. The error in the report was purely incidental and didn't affect the overall accuracy of the document.
14. It's important to avoid including too many incidental details in your report, as they can clutter the main message.
15. The delay in the project timeline was purely incidental and resulted from unexpected weather conditions.
16. In her research, she discovered an incidental benefit of the treatment that could have significant implications.
17. While the team celebrated their success, they acknowledged that it was largely incidental and not the result of careful planning.
18. The conflict between the two colleagues was largely incidental, stemming from a misunderstanding rather than personal animosity.
19. In scientific research, incidental findings that aren't directly related to the study's objectives can sometimes lead to new discoveries.
20. The story had an incidental subplot that added depth and complexity to the main narrative.
21. His contribution to the project was merely incidental, as he provided some minor input but wasn't a key player.
22. The researcher stumbled upon an incidental discovery during the experiment, which opened up new avenues for exploration.
23. Over time, the incidental costs associated with maintaining the property added up, making it necessary to review the budget.
24. The damage to the equipment was purely incidental and occurred due to unforeseen circumstances.
25. Make sure to keep track of any incidental expenses during your business trip, as they can be reimbursed according to company policy.



minor, major, primary, central


ACT 5 (American College Testing), Middle School 13, Distribution and Supplementary

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