Accident vs Case - What's the difference?

accident | case |

As nouns the difference between accident and case

is that accident is an unexpected event with negative consequences occurring without the intention of the one suffering the consequences while case is an actual event, situation, or fact or case can be a box that contains or can contain a number of identical items of manufacture.

As a verb case is

(obsolete) to propose hypothetical cases or case can be to place (an item or items of manufacture) into a box, as in preparation for shipment.

As an adjective case is

(poker slang) the last remaining card of a particular rank.



  • An unexpected event with negative consequences occurring without the intention of the one suffering the consequences.
  • * c.1603 , (William Shakespeare), , I-iii,
  • Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, / Of moving accidents by flood and field
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author= Philip J. Bushnell
  • , magazine=(American Scientist), title= Solvents, Ethanol, Car Crashes & Tolerance , passage=Surprisingly, this analysis revealed that acute exposure to solvent vapors at concentrations below those associated with long-term effects appears to increase the risk of a fatal automobile accident . Furthermore, this increase in risk is comparable to the risk of death from leukemia after long-term exposure to benzene, another solvent, which has the well-known property of causing this type of cancer.}}
  • Any chance event.
  • (uncountable) Chance.
  • * c.1861-1863 , (Richard Chevenix Trench), in 1888, Letters and memorials , Volume 1,
  • Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident , / It is the very place God meant for thee;
  • *
  • (transport, vehicle) An unintended event such as a collision that causes damage or death.
  • Any property, fact, or relation that is the result of chance or is nonessential.
  • * 1883 , , Social life in Greece from Homer to Menander? ,
  • This accident , as I call it, of Athens being situated some miles from the sea, which is rather the consequence of its being a very ancient site,
  • (euphemistic) An instance of incontinence.
  • * 2009 , Marcia Stedron, My Roller Coaster Life as an Army Wife , Xlibris Corporation, ISBN 1462817890, page 56:
  • We weren’t there long when Karin asked about our dog. When we told her Chris was in the car, she insisted we bring him up to the apartment. I rejected her offer and said he might have an accident on the carpet and I didn’t want to worry about it.
  • (euphemistic) An unintended pregnancy.
  • (philosophy, logic) A quality or attribute in distinction from the substance, as sweetness'', ''softness .
  • * 1902 , William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience , Folio Society 2008, page 171:
  • If they went through their growth-crisis in other faiths and other countries, although the essence of the change would be the same, its accidents would be different.
  • (grammar) A property attached to a word, but not essential to it, as gender, number, case.
  • (geology) An irregular surface feature with no apparent cause.
  • (heraldry) A point or mark which may be retained or omitted in a coat of arms.
  • (legal) casus; such unforeseen, extraordinary, extraneous interference as is out of the range of ordinary calculation.
  • (military) An unplanned event that results in injury (including death) or occupational illness to person(s) and/or damage to property, exclusive of injury and/or damage caused by action of an enemy or hostile force.
  • (uncountable, philosophy, uncommon) Appearance, manifestation.
  • * 14thC , (Geoffrey Chaucer), '' in ''(The Canterbury Tales) ,
  • These cookes how they stamp, and strain, and grind, / And turne substance into accident , / To fulfill all thy likerous talent!
  • * 1677 , Heraclitus Christianus: or, the Man of Sorrow , chapter 3, page 14:
  • But as to Man, all the Fruits of the Earth, all sorts of Herbs, Plants and Roots, the Fishes of the Sea, and the Birds of the Air do not suffice him, but he must disguise, vary, and sophisticate, change the substance into accident , that by such irritations as these, Nature might be provoked, and as it were necessitated.
  • * 1989 , Iysa A. Bello, The medieval Islamic controversy between philosophy and orthodoxy , page 55:
  • Nonetheless, those who have no evidence of the impossibility of the transformation of accident into substance believe that it is death itself which will be actually transformed into a ram on the Day of Resurrection and then be slaughtered.
  • * 2005 , Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Medieval Islamic philosophical writings , page 175:
  • It would also follow that God ought to be able to transmute genera, converting substance into accident , knowledge into ability, black into white, and sound into smell, just as he can turn the inanimate into animate
  • * 2010 , T. M. Rudavsky, Maimonides , page 142:
  • nor can God effect the transmutation of substances (from accident' into substance, or substance into '''accident''', or substance without ' accident ).


    * (unexpected event that takes place without foresight or expectation) befalling, chance, contingency, casualty, mishap * (law) casus

    Derived terms

    * accidental * accident of birth * by accident * freak accident


    * Elisabetta Lonati, "Allas, the shorte throte, the tendre mouth": the sins of the mouth in ''The Canterbury Tales'', in ''Thou sittest at another boke , volume 3 (2008, ISSN 1974-0603), page 253: "the cooks "turnen substance into accident" (Pd 539), transform the raw material, its natural essence, into the outward aspect by which it is known." * Barbara Fass Leavy, To Blight With Plague: Studies in a Literary Theme (1993), page 47: *: To turn substance into accident is to give external form to what previously was unformed, to transform spirit into matter, to reduce eternal truths to their ephemeral physical manifestations.



    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) cas, from (etyl) .


    (en noun)
  • An actual event, situation, or fact.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= The attack of the MOOCs , passage=Since the launch early last year of […] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.}}
  • A given condition or state.
  • * 1590 , (Edmund Spenser), (The Faerie Queene) , III.10:
  • Ne wist he how to turne, nor to what place: / Was never wretched man in such a wofull cace .
  • A piece of work, specifically defined within a profession.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=We drove back to the office with some concern on my part at the prospect of so large a case . Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke.}}
  • * {{quote-book, year=1927, author= F. E. Penny
  • , chapter=4, title= Pulling the Strings , passage=The case was that of a murder. It had an element of mystery about it, however, which was puzzling the authorities. A turban and loincloth soaked in blood had been found; also a staff. These properties were known to have belonged to a toddy drawer. He had disappeared.}}
  • (label) An instance or event as a topic of study.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2012, month=March-April, author=John T. Jost
  • , volume=100, issue=2, page=162, magazine=(American Scientist) , title= Social Justice: Is It in Our Nature (and Our Future)? , passage=He draws eclectically on studies of baboons, descriptive anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies and, in a few cases , the fossil record.}}
  • (label) A legal proceeding, lawsuit.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1905, author=
  • , title= , chapter=2 citation , passage=“Two or three months more went by?; the public were eagerly awaiting the arrival of this semi-exotic claimant to an English peerage, and sensations, surpassing those of the Tichbourne case , were looked forward to with palpitating interest. […]”}}
  • (label) A specific inflection of a word depending on its function in the sentence.
  • *
  • Now, the Subject of either an indicative or a subjunctive Clause is always assigned Nominative'' case''', as we see from:
    (16) (a)   I know [that ''they''/*''them''/*''their'' leave for Hawaii tomorrow]
    (16) (b)   I demand [that ''they''/*''them''/*''their'' leave for Hawaii tomorrow]
    By contrast, the Subject of an infinitive Clause is assigned ''Objective'' '''case''', as we see from:
    (17)   I want [''them''/*''they''/*''their'' to leave for Hawaii tomorrow]
    And the Subject of a ''gerund'' Clause is assigned either ''Objective'' or ''Genitive'' '''case
    : cf.
    (18)   I don't like the idea of [''them''/''their''/*''they
    leaving for Hawaii tomorrow]
  • Grammatical cases and their meanings taken either as a topic in general or within a specific language.
  • (label) An instance of a specific condition or set of symptoms.
  • A section of code representing one of the actions of a conditional switch.
  • * 2004 , Rick Miller, C++ for Artists
  • Place a break statement at the end of every case to prevent case fall-through.
  • * 2011 , Stephen Prata, C++ Primer Plus (page 275)
  • Execution does not automatically stop at the next case .
    * *
    Derived terms
    * be the case * case study * court case * hard case * in case * just in case * Case
    * See also


  • (obsolete) To propose hypothetical cases.
  • * L'Estrange
  • Casing upon the matter.

    See also


    Etymology 2

    From Middle English cas, from .


    (en noun)
  • A box that contains or can contain a number of identical items of manufacture.
  • A box, sheath, or covering generally.
  • a case''' for spectacles; the '''case of a watch
  • A piece of luggage that can be used to transport an apparatus such as a sewing machine.
  • An enclosing frame or casing.
  • a door case'''; a window '''case
  • A suitcase.
  • A piece of furniture, constructed partially of transparent glass or plastic, within which items can be displayed.
  • The outer covering or framework of a piece of apparatus such as a computer.
  • (printing, historical) A shallow tray divided into compartments or "boxes" for holding type, traditionally arranged in sets of two, the "upper case" (containing capitals, small capitals, accented) and "lower case" (small letters, figures, punctuation marks, quadrats, and spaces).
  • (typography, by extension) The nature of a piece of alphabetic type, whether a “capital” (upper case) or “small” (lower case) letter.
  • (poker slang) Four of a kind.
  • (US) A unit of liquid measure used to measure sales in the beverage industry, equivalent to 192 fluid ounces.
  • (mining) A small fissure which admits water into the workings.
  • (Knight)
    Derived terms
    * * briefcase * camel case * (noun) * case harden * letter case * lower case * packing case * sentence case * title case * upper case
    * Weisenberg, Michael (2000) The Official Dictionary of Poker. MGI/Mike Caro University. ISBN 978-1880069523


  • (poker slang) The last remaining card of a particular rank.
  • He drew the case eight!
    * Weisenberg, Michael (2000) The Official Dictionary of Poker. MGI/Mike Caro University. ISBN 978-1880069523


  • To place (an item or items of manufacture) into a box, as in preparation for shipment.
  • To cover or protect with, or as if with, a case; to enclose.
  • * Prescott
  • The man who, cased in steel, had passed whole days and nights in the saddle.
  • (informal) To survey (a building or other location) surreptitiously, as in preparation for a robbery.
  • * 1977 , (Michael Innes), The Gay Phoenix , ISBN 9780396074427, p. 116:
  • You are in the grounds of Brockholes Abbey, a house into which a great deal of valuable property has just been moved. And your job is to case the joint for a break in.
  • * 2014 , (Amy Goodman), From COINTELPRO to Snowden, the FBI Burglars Speak Out After 43 Years of Silence (Part 2) , Democracy Now!, January 8, 2014, 0:49 to 0:57:
  • Bonnie worked as a daycare director. She helped case the FBI office by posing as a college student interested in becoming an FBI agent.