serendipity

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ser·en·dip·i·ty

 (sĕr′ən-dĭp′ĭ-tē)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

[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.]

ser′en·dip′i·tous adj.
ser′en·dip′i·tous·ly adv.
Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which (along with his novel The Castle of Otranto, considered the first Gothic novel) his literary reputation rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, in which he discusses a certain painting, Walpole mentions a discovery about the significance of a Venetian coat of arms that he has made while looking at random into an old book—a method by which he had apparently made other worthwhile discoveries before: "This discovery I made by a talisman [a procedure achieving results like a charm] ... by which I find everything I want ... wherever I dip for it. This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."

serendipity

(ˌsɛrənˈdɪpɪtɪ)
n
the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident
[C18: coined by Horace Walpole, from the Persian fairytale The Three Princes of Serendip, in which the heroes possess this gift]
ˌserenˈdipitous adj

ser•en•dip•i•ty

(ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ ti)

n.
1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck.
[1754; Serendip + -ity; Horace Walpole so named a faculty possessed by the heroes of a fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip]

serendipity

a talent for making fortunate discoveries while searching for other things. — serendipitous, adj.
See also: Chance
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.serendipity - good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
fluke, good fortune, good luck - a stroke of luck
Translations
sérendipité
セレンディピティ偶察力
serendipismo

serendipity

[ˌserənˈdɪpɪtɪ] Nserendipia f

serendipity

[ˌsɛrɛnˈdɪpəti] nheureux hasard m
Some of the best effects in my garden have been the result of serendipity → Certains des meilleurs effets dans mon jardin ont été le fruit d'un heureux hasard.

serendipity

nSpürsinn m (fig), → mehr Glück als Verstand

serendipity

[ˌsɛrənˈdɪpɪtɪ] n (frm) → serendipità
References in periodicals archive ?
Very often, one makes accidental discoveries of objects long forgotten or so well hidden that their unearthing is a joyous occasion.
They feed off solace and stimuli--being lost in thought and accidental discoveries after getting lost in New York, even though I've lived here 20 years.
My stress levels were through the roof," Halevy said, "but this was a perfect storm of what almost felt like happy, accidental discoveries.
Fara describes the progress of her research, provides plainspoken commentary upon her reactions to the overwrought quality of Darwin's poetry, and divulges the truth about her field of endeavor--that the practice of history is not at all precise and, instead, follows a meandering path full of accidental discoveries, "false trails," and "jettisoned chapters" (p.
Previously drugs came to light more or less through accidental discoveries.