Origins and Antebellum Meaning of the two attributes of slavery identified as badges and incidents, the incidents o slavery had a far more definite and accepted legal sense that the badges. The incidents of slavery could be taken literally as accepted legal usage, just like the incidents o ownership of property or the incidents of office, while the badges of slavery took on a sense that was at least partially figurative. As the Oxford English Dictionary defines the term, incident means attaching itself, as a privilege, burden or custom, to an office, position, etc. It also cites English legal sources from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries that used the term to refer to the legal consequences of of a status or position. In 1828, Noah Webster defined the term in much the same sense in his American Dictionary of the English Language: “Appertaining to or following the chief or principal”. A court baron is incident to a manor.