by accident

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by accident (comparative more by accident, superlative most by accident)

  1. Accidentally; unintentionally; without meaning to; as the result of an event not expected, aided, or willingly planned.
    Sorry. I knocked over the vase by accident.
  2. As the result of some undesigned, unintended, unrelated, natural, or random occurrence; as the unexpected and unforeseen result of formerly unrelated factors.
    The car got totaled by accident; a giant snowdrift fell off the church roof.
    The only way that project still exists today is by accident; I thought we closed it years ago.
    The scholar thinks the quote and the parable were spoken on different occasions and only by accident were brought together here.
  3. By chance; unexpectedly; as the result of an unrelated series of events.
    I hadn't seen her for years, but I ran into her by accident at the store.
    She overheard the information by accident.
    • a. 1886, Richard Chenevix Trench, Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident
      Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident: It is the very place God meant for thee.


See also[edit]


by accident (comparative more by accident, superlative most by accident)

  1. Accidental; as the result of some unforeseen happening or series of events; unexpected; resulting from an event without the foresight, expectation, aid, or design of the person by whose agency it was caused; unintentional.
    The victim's death was by accident.
    That the injury was by accident is not questioned.