2 [countable, uncountable]
something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance:
Their early arrival was just an accident;
It is no accident that men fill most of the top jobs in nursing;
an accident of birth/fate/history (= describing facts and events that are due to chance or circumstances).
accidents will happen people say accidents will happen to tell somebody who has had an accident, for example breaking something, that it does not matter and they should not worry
by accident in a way that is not planned or organized
Opposite - ON PURPOSE, DELIBERATELY:
We met by accident at the airport; Helen got into acting purely by accident
— more at CHAPTER, WAIT verb
chance • coincidence • accident • fortune • fate • destiny • providence
These are all words for things that happen or the force that causes them to happen.
luck the force that causes good or bad things to happen to people: This ring has always brought me good luck.
chance the way that some things happen without any cause that you can see or understand : The results could simply be due to chance.
coincidence the fact of two things happening at the same time by chance, in a surprising way: They met through a series of strange coincidences.
accident something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance: Their early arrival was just an accident.
fortune (rather formal) luck or chance, especially in the way it affects people's lives: For once, fortune was on our side: the sun shone that day.
fate the power that is believed to control everything that happens and that cannot be stopped or changed: Fate decreed that she would never reach America.
destiny the power that is believed to control events: I believe there's some force guiding us—call it God, destiny or fate.
providence (formal) God, or a force that some people believe controls our lives and the things that happen to us, usually in a way that protects us: He trusted in divine providence.
FATE, DESTINY OR PROVIDENCE?
Providence is usually seen as being kind: even when it sends suffering, this is accepted as being part of God's plan. Fate can be kind, but this is an unexpected gift; just as often, fate is cruel and makes people feel helpless. Destiny is more likely to give people a sense of power: people who have a strong sense of destiny usually believe that they are meant to be great or do great things.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS
• by/through ...luck/chance/coincidence/accident
• It was... luck/chance/coincidence/accident/fortune/ fate/providence that...
• It's no coincidence/accident that...
• pure/sheer/mere luck/chance/coincidence/accident
• good/bad/ill luck/fortune
• to have the... luck/fortune to do something
• to tempt fate/providence (= to do something too confidently in a way that might mean that your good luck will come to an end)
• somebody's luck/fortune changes/turns
• a stroke of luck/fortune/fate
• a twist of fortune/fate