An accident waiting to happen


      • predict a future negative event
        To express the belief that a particular situation or circumstance is likely to result in a harmful or disastrous outcome in the near future

      • potential danger
        To describe a situation or action that has the potential to cause harm or disaster if not addressed or avoided

    Examples of An accident waiting to happen

    • The old, rickety bridge that swayed in the wind and had missing planks was an accident waiting to happen.

      This idiom is used to describe a situation that is highly likely to result in an unfortunate event or mishap. In this example, the bridge is described as being in a state of disrepair, which increases the likelihood of an accident occurring. The phrase "an accident waiting to happen" is used to convey the idea that the bridge is a potential danger to anyone who uses it.


    The idiom "an accident waiting to happen" is commonly used to warn against a future negative event or to describe a potentially dangerous situation. It conveys a sense of inevitability and suggests that the outcome is likely to be negative if no action is taken.

    This idiom can be used in various contexts, such as in personal relationships, work environments, or even in everyday situations. For example, someone might use this idiom to caution a friend about getting involved with a toxic partner, or to describe a faulty piece of equipment that could cause harm if not fixed.

    Origin of "An accident waiting to happen"

    The origin of this idiom is not clear, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century. It is often attributed to the works of American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce, who wrote a satirical dictionary called "The Devil's Dictionary" in 1911. In this book, he defined "accident" as "an inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws."

    The idiom may also have been influenced by the concept of "Murphy's Law," which states that "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." Both of these ideas convey a similar sense of inevitability and suggest that negative events are bound to happen.

    In conclusion, the idiom "an accident waiting to happen" is a powerful expression that conveys a sense of warning and potential danger. Its origins may be uncertain, but its usage remains relevant in modern English and serves as a cautionary reminder to take action in order to avoid negative outcomes.