A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Accidental (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 69

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 69

Accide'ntal. adj. [from accident.]

  1. Having the quality of an accident, nonessential; used with the particle to, before than in which the accident inheres.

    A distinction is to be made between what pleases naturally in itself, and what pleases upon the account of machines, actors, dances, and circumstances, which are merely accidental to the tragedy. Rymer's Tragedies of the last Age

    This is accidental to a state of religion, and therefore ought to be reckoned among the ordinary difficulties of it. Tillotson.

  2. Casual, fortuitous, happening by chance.

    Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade. Shakesp. Meas. for Meas.

                    So shall you hear
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;
    Of deaths put on by cunning, and forc'd cause.
    Shakes. Ham.

    Look upon things of the most accidental and mutable nature; accidental in their production, and mutable in their continuance; yet God's prescience of them is as certain in him, as the memory of them is, or can be, in us. South's Sermons.

  3. In the following passage it seems to signify adventitious.

    Ay, such a minister as wind to fire,
    That adds an accidental fierceness to
    Its natural fury.
    Denham's Sophy.

Sources: Denham, John (75) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (39) · Rymer, Thomas (3) · South, Robert (158) · Tillotson, John (68)

Attributes: Adjective (426)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Accidental (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 1, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=1665.


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