+44 20 7242 2234
Bloomsbury International Youtube Bloomsbury International Facebook Bloomsbury International Twitter Bloomsbury International Instagram Bloomsbury International Skype
Idiom

Accidents will happen

Meaning
Unexpected events will happen; however well you prepare, things can go wrong
Origin

accident will happenThis idiom is often used as a form of consolation, said to someone when things don’t go as they had planned. The phrase has its origins in an earlier proverb: ‘accidents will happen in the best regulated families’.

In John Muller’s ‘A treatise containing the practical part of fortification’ (1755), it is written:
‘But, notwithstanding all human precautions that can be taken, yet accidents will happen.’ Later, the English author Charles Dickens in his book ‘David Copperfield’ (1850), wrote the original phrase:
‘“My dear friend Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated”.’

The idiom is also the title of a song by Elvis Costello, released in 1979, where he sings: ‘Accidents will happen/We only hit and run/I don’t want to hear it/’Cause I know what I’ve done.’

Examples

‘I’m so sorry I dropped your phone!’
‘That’s okay. Accidents will happen.

I always buy travel insurance when on vacation. You never know what could go wrong, and accidents will happen.

I always mix up my prepositions with my pronouns. Accidents will happen when learning a new language of course, but that’s a really strange mistake to make.