Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
  • noun The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
  • noun An instance of making such a discovery.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The happy faculty, or luck, of finding, by “accidental sagacity,” interesting items of information or unexpected proofs of one's theories; discovery of things unsought: a factitious word humorously invented by Horace Walpole.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected discovery and/or learning experience that happens by accident and sagacity.
  • noun A combination of events which are not individually beneficial, but occurring together produce a good or wonderful outcome.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian Sarandīp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic Sarandīb, ultimately from Sanskrit Siṃhaladvīpaḥ : Siṃhalaḥ, Sri Lanka + dvīpaḥ, island; see Dhivehi.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Serendip +‎ -ity. Coined by Horace Walpole, 1754. See Serendib.

Examples

  • The word serendipity comes from the Persian fairy tale

    Kari Stoever: 720 Saturdays and a Silver Dollar

  • On January 28, 1754, Horace Walpole coined the term serendipity, which means finding something you're not looking for but which you nonetheless need.

    Fleshbot

  • The word "serendipity" comes from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."

    Kari Stoever: 720 Saturdays and a Silver Dollar

  • The word "serendipity" comes from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."

    Kari Stoever: 720 Saturdays and a Silver Dollar

  • The word "serendipity" comes from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."

    Kari Stoever: 720 Saturdays and a Silver Dollar

  • The word "serendipity" comes from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."

    Kari Stoever: 720 Saturdays and a Silver Dollar

  • Cooperation with other more northerly atmospheric weather patterns or oscillations and a little serendipity is needed to get an exceptionally snowy winter.

    Why was last year so snowy? Part I

  • Put another, metaphorical way, American writers tend toward an expressive register commensurate with the open spaces and endless distances of our continent; Perec's magnitude is no less great, but his vastness is essentially urban, highly structured, and by necessity constrained, entailing complex negotiations and yielding delight in serendipity, surprise, and incongruity.

    Art and Culture

  • The accidental discovery of a new idea is called serendipity.

    Diffusion of Innovations

  • Not to actually equate Alberta's avarice in serendipity with slavery, of course.

    i'm just saying

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.