Definition of incidental in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌinsəˈden(t)l/


1Accompanying but not a major part of something: for the fieldworker who deals with real problems, paperwork is incidental incidental expenses
More example sentences
  • As in his biography of Macarthur, the Aborigines are incidental, minor problems for his hero to overcome.
  • Criticism of the footnote is not a quibble about a minor incidental proposition.
  • That space came along as a necessary but incidental accompaniment of the two arches.
less important, secondary, subsidiary;
minor, peripheral, background, nonessential, inessential, unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, tangential, extrinsic, extraneous, superfluous;
Law  de minimis
1.1Occurring by chance in connection with something else: the incidental catch of dolphins in the pursuit of tuna
More example sentences
  • The aim is to reduce the incidental catch of gamefish like marlin while allowing stocks of swordfish, oceanic sharks and tuna to replenish themselves.
  • The small and incidental commercial catch is marketed as ‘perch’.
  • Precision comes from being able to strike the desired target while avoiding incidental casualties or unwanted damage.
chance, accidental, by chance, by accident, random;
fortuitous, serendipitous, adventitious, coincidental, unlooked-for, unexpected, fluky
2 [predicative] (incidental to) Liable to happen as a consequence of (an activity): the ordinary risks incidental to a fireman’s job
More example sentences
  • For instance, a charity has to refrain from political advocacy, unless such lobbying activity is merely incidental to the charitable purpose.
  • Thus, for example, activities initially incidental to the main of an area of land may grow in scale to a point where they convert the single use to a composite use and produce a material change of use of the whole.
  • Achieving this designation in public policy requires identifying opportunities both as a specific agenda and as incidental to other APA activities.
connected with, related to, associated with, accompanying, attending, attendant on, concomitant to/with


(usually incidentals)
An incidental detail, expense, event, etc. an allowance to cover meals, taxis, and other incidentals
More example sentences
  • In 2002, tuition fees before incidentals in this same program stand at $2,015, an increase of 145 per cent over 10 years.
  • Meals, recreational activities, and incidentals are out-of-pocket expenses.
  • The Defence Travel Card is a corporate credit card used to pay for business travel expenses including accommodation, meals, incidentals and surface travel.


Early 17th century: originally from medieval Latin incidentalis, from Latin incident- 'falling upon, happening to' (from the verb incidere).

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Syllabification: in·ci·den·tal

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