Accidental error – Definition & Meaning

Accidental errors are mistakes that occur by chance or unintentionally. These errors can happen in any field, from science to language, and can have varying degrees of impact. Understanding the meaning and implications of accidental errors is crucial in avoiding them and mitigating their effects.


An accidental error is a mistake that is made unintentionally or by chance. It is not a deliberate action but rather a result of a lack of attention, carelessness, or a misunderstanding. These errors can occur in any context, such as in scientific experiments, language, or mathematics.


The origin of the term “accidental error” can be traced back to the Latin word “accidentalis,” which means “happening by chance.” The word “error” comes from the Latin word “error,” which means “to wander” or “to stray.” The combination of these two words gives us the modern-day definition of an accidental error.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an accidental error is “a mistake that occurs unintentionally or by chance.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “an error that is made unintentionally or by chance.”


Accidental errors are often associated with carelessness, lack of attention, or a lack of understanding. They can have varying degrees of impact, from minor to severe, depending on the context in which they occur.


Synonyms of accidental error include mistake, slip-up, blunder, oversight, and misstep.


Antonyms of accidental error include intention, purpose, and deliberation.

The same root words

The same root words as accidental error include accident, accidental, and error.

Example Sentences

  1. The scientist made an accidental error in his calculations, which led to inaccurate results.
  2. The student’s accidental error in the math problem caused him to receive a lower grade.
  3. The writer’s accidental error in grammar caused confusion in the meaning of the sentence.
  4. The pilot’s accidental error in navigation caused the plane to veer off course.
  5. The artist’s accidental error in color choice changed the entire mood of the painting.
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