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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...."


in a serendipitous manner; fortunately; by lucky chance
References in periodicals archive ?
I put him in touch with Dave Cooke, who was serendipitously off to Uganda very soon.
It also serendipitously provides me with an opportunity I didn't think I was going to get - to play The Kazimier, Liverpool's most happening club of recent times, before it closes its doors and its era ends - if you're going to do it, you may as well do it upside down and the wrong way round.
Serendipitously, the antimicrobial peptide shows promise for protecting humans from cancer; it can inhibit the growth of prostate and bladder cancer cells, as well as multi-drug resistant leukemic cells.
Serendipitously, the emotional resiliency and self-discovery that this workbook provides will transfer into other aspects of life as well.
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Road cycling now receives extended television coverage all around the world, undoubtedly helped by those stunning helicopter shots (I've learnt more about world geography since serendipitously zapping upon the Tour de France some five years ago than I ever did at school).
Then Will Hammerstein serendipitously made a reservation at the B&B in 2010.
In what will go down as one of the downright funniest and serendipitously ironic moments in boxing history, Algieri's trainer, Tim Lane completely embarrassed himself on air by declaring that his ward will put Pacquiao to sleep anytime soon but saw the previously undefeated American fighter kiss the canvas instead.
As it turns out, Carl had serendipitously uncovered the most complete fossil of an early jawed-fish known anywhere in the world
Serendipitously, in Act II of Tosca, Baron Scarpia bellows out “finalmente mia” which translates to finally mine.
These days, her serendipitously accumulated supporters include Lionel Bensemoun, one of the nightlife bigwigs behind the Le Baron club franchise, and Red Bull Music Academy programming director Max Wolf.
In an era when gender is popularly thought to have decreasing relevance, The Gender Games: Stories in/for the Contemporary World (November 2012) serendipitously (or unfortunately) intersected with a turbulent moment in Australian politics, society and culture in relation to gender.