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I checked Thesaurus for incident, but the synonyms are "milder" version of the word.

Is there one that has the connotation of being bizarre? (e.g. a pet hangs itself on a tree).

After hearing about the [...], she almost went crazy.

  • I'd call it tragic over bizarre. – Catija May 22 '15 at 8:20
  • Depending on the context, 'bizarre' is likely to have connotations of illogicality, poor judgment, weirdness, madness, garishness, improbability or inexplicableness. The killing of a pet by a neighbour would not generally qualify as bizarre unless there was something unusual about the circumstances of the pet's death — for instance, if the neighbour had painted a picture of it after he killed it, or had posed with the dead animal in a series of selfies. – Erik Kowal May 22 '15 at 8:59
  • @Erik Kowal How about the new example? – janoChen May 22 '15 at 9:08
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    Yes, I think a pet hanging itself on a tree would qualify as bizarre — especially if it could be shown to have committed suicide. – Erik Kowal May 22 '15 at 9:13
  • I was going to say, a cat has nine lives, it can't commit suicide! It would take at least nine attempts. That's one determined kitty, you're speaking about. – Mari-Lou A May 22 '15 at 9:15
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I'm not sure that a neighbor killing a cat is such a bizarre thing (alas). A pet being killed by a meteorite, I would call bizarre.

An often-used synonym for bizarre is freak, as in freak incident. This means it is an incident that nobody expected to happen, that seemed very very unlikely or is the result of many unexpected things all coming together.

Another possibility, with a different connotation, is an act of god. This is used to describe something that happens outside anybody's responsibility. It is often used in insurance policies and the like to indicate the kind of incidents that one can not reasonably expect to prepare oneself for. These usually include things like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.

Note that act of god does not really bear any religious connotation, notwithstanding the god part.

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    'Freak accident' is another very common term for an uncommon event. – Erik Kowal May 22 '15 at 8:45
  • True, in practice incident and accident tend to get conflated semantically. cf Pauls Simon's “there were incidents and accidents // there were hints and allegations”. – oerkelens May 22 '15 at 8:46

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