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English Language Terms and Concepts


The concept of an accident rests on the idea of an unexpected event with negative consequences occurring without the intention of the one suffering the consequences or the intentional direct action of another. Any chance event; something unexpected, unforeseen or extraordinary; and "act of God". The word also is a common euphemism for an unintended pregnancy or an incident of incontinence.

"Accident" as applied to the injury prevention context would refer to an unintentional, unplanned, unanticipated event that results in an injury or death. As opposed to intentional harm (violence) or self-harm and suicide.


For the purposes of SafetyLit, an injury is defined as any unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to chemical, electromagnetic, kinetic, nuclear, or thermal energy or from the absence of essentials such as heat or oxygen. The term "injury" encompasses both intentional and unintentional acts or events.

However there are other definitions of the word. In the field of law, an "injury" does not necessarily require physical harm to a person but includes harm to emotions, interests, reputation, rights, and property.


One is in a condition of "safety" when free from harm's reach or secure from danger or hazard. Also, safety is the quality of making safe or secure, or of giving confidence, justifying trust, insuring against harm or loss.


"Trauma" can be defined as a serious injury to the body. It can also refer to a purely emotional wound leading to lasting psychological harm or to events or experiences that cause great distress.

Selected References

This is a bibliography of articles, reports, and theses about the issues of word usage and the implications of those words for the field of injury prevention. This is a dynamic listing that will be updated whenever relevant material comes to our attention.