Meaning of Idiom ‘Accidentally On Purpose’
Something that is done accidentally on purpose seems to be an accident but is actually done intentionally; pretending something is an accident that one actually does deliberately. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary]. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,3McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002
See on purpose idiom.
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This idiom is usually at least slightly humorous.
Examples Of Use
“I accidentally on purpose forgot to clean my room.”
“He accidentally on purpose shoved the other player.”
“I accidentally on purpose touched his hand at dinner last night, said Alice. I hope he got the hint.”
“How did you get Kate to spring for a new printer?” asked Judy. “I accidentally broke the old one,” said Connor. “Accidentally on purpose, I suppose,” said Judy, grinning.
This humorous and oxymoronic idiom first appeared in print in 1862 in the memoirs of Sydney, Lady Morgan, an Irish novelist and poet. Judging by the use of quotation marks, the author was probably using an expression already known:
Dermody neglected the order —
perhaps “accidentally on purpose.” 4Cryer, Max. Common Phrases: –and the Amazing Stories behind Them. Skyhorse Pub., 2010.
More Idioms Starting with A
- Armed to the Teeth
- Anything Doing?
- Arm and a Leg, an
- Accidents Will Happen
- All That Glitters Is Not Gold
More Accident Idioms
More On Idioms
More Purpose Idioms
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Sources [ + ]
|1.||↲||Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.|
|2.||↲||Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary]. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.|
|3.||↲||McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002|
|4.||↲||Cryer, Max. Common Phrases: –and the Amazing Stories behind Them. Skyhorse Pub., 2010.|