Definition of incidence in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈinsədəns/


1The occurrence, rate, or frequency of a disease, crime, or something else undesirable: an increased incidence of cancer
More example sentences
  • Trees can help reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases as well as lung cancer.
  • Panchayats should take the initiative to reduce the incidence of the disease at grass-root levels.
  • There are different skull shapes, different frequencies of blood types, different incidences of heritable diseases.
occurrence, prevalence;
rate, frequency;
amount, degree, extent
1.1The way in which the burden of a tax falls upon the population: the entire incidence falls on the workers
More example sentences
  • For example, he treated the incidences of taxes on capital and land in lieu of examining the effects of a property tax per se.
  • Tax incidence is clearly an important issue - where does the burden really fall?
  • In practice, the eventual receipts of any party will be reduced by the incidence of income tax.
2 Physics The intersection of a line, or something moving in a straight line, such as a beam of light, with a surface. See also angle of incidence.
Example sentences
  • Due to the glancing incidence of the ion beam, argon is not implanted into the sample surface.
  • With grazing incidence diffraction a monoclinic tilted chain lattice is found in the condensed phase.
  • The optical output to which a given beam travels depends on the beam's respective direction of incidence.


Incidence and incidents sound the same, but incidence is more often used in technical contexts, referring to the frequency with which something occurs: increased ultraviolet light is likely to cause increased incidence of skin cancer. Incidents is simply the plural of incident, an event: the police are supposed to investigate any incidents of domestic violence. The form incidences should be avoided.


Late Middle English (denoting a casual or subordinate event or circumstance): from Old French, or from medieval Latin incidentia, from Latin incidere 'fall upon, happen to' (see incident). sense 1 dates from the early 19th century.

Words that rhyme with incidence


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·ci·dence

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