This sentence is part of a paragraph of a book titled The Almost Perfect Murder by Hulbert Footner. Here is the complete paragraph (emphasis mine):

My employer, Madame Storey, who knows everybody in the great world, had become acquainted with Fay, and through her I had met the girl. By degrees, I can hardly say how, Fay and I had become intimate friends. She brought colour and incident into my life. To a plain Jane like me, she was marvellous. I was the recipient of all her charming confidences—or nearly all; and as well as I could, I steered her with my advice amongst the pitfalls that beset a popular favourite. For one in the limelight she was incredibly ignorant of evil. And you could not bear to show her the ugly side of life.

What is the meaning of the word "incident" in the bold sentence?

  • 1
    Activity; the opposite of monotony. Apr 24, 2020 at 1:53
  • Thank you! I really appreciate your comment, I love kimchi too! Apr 24, 2020 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


The word "incident" is commonly used to mean "an incident". Google's built in dictionary has:

n instance of something happening; an event or occurrence:
"several amusing incidents"

However, it also has a less commonly used, wider sense:

the occurrence of dangerous or exciting things.
"my period in Egypt wasn't without incident"

It is this second sense that is being used in the question. If we substitute the definition, "She bought colour and incident into my life" could be read as "She bought colour and dangerous and exciting occurrences into my life".

For what it's worth, this is also how the word "colour" is being used. From the Cambridge dictionary:

interesting or exciting qualities or details:
"Michael was there so that added a bit of colour to the evening's proceedings."

It's worth noting that there's a peculiarity in English here. The second definition of incident might seem to make more sense if it was pluralised: "She bought colour and incidents into my life." But when used it that manner, it's always singular.

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    Thank you so much! I was aware of the first definition, but not of the less commonly use. It was really helpful! Apr 24, 2020 at 13:10

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