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1. Happening by accident or chance. See Synonyms at accidental.
2. Resulting in good fortune; lucky.
[Latin fortuītus; see bher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The traditional meaning of fortuitous is "happening by chance, accidental." Perhaps because many chance events are favorable or because of the similarity of fortuitous to fortunate and felicitous, fortuitous has acquired the meaning "characterized by good fortune, lucky." (Note that the word fortunate underwent a similar shift in meaning centuries ago.) In our 2005 survey, a solid majority of the Usage Panel accepted the use of the word to mean "lucky." Some 68 percent accepted the sentence The photographer felt that it was very fortuitous that she was in place to take the winning photo, where the adverb very rules out the possibility that the word might mean "accidental." A similar percentage (67) accepted the sentence The meeting proved fortuitous: I came away with a much better idea of my role, where the verb prove makes the meaning "accidental" an unlikely fit. This two-thirds majority stands in stark contrast to the 85 percent that rejected this same sentence in 1967. Nonetheless, writers should take care to avoid creating contexts in which the meaning of the word is ambiguous.
happening by chance, esp by a lucky chance; unplanned; accidental
[C17: from Latin fortuitus happening by chance, from forte by chance, from fors chance, luck]
for•tu•i•tous(fɔrˈtu ɪ təs, -ˈtyu-)
1. happening or produced by chance; accidental: a fortuitous encounter.
2. lucky; fortunate.
[1645–55; < Latin fortuitus, akin to fors, genitive fortis chance, luck]
usage: fortuitous has developed in sense from “happening by chance” to “happening by lucky chance” to simply “lucky.” Some object to this last meaning, insisting that fortuitous be kept to its original sense of “accidental.” In modern standard use, however, the word almost always carries the senses both of chance and good luck. fortuitous is infrequently used to mean “accidental” without the suggestion of good luck, and even less frequently to mean “lucky” without a suggestion of accident or chance.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Adj.||1.||fortuitous - having no cause or apparent cause; "a causeless miracle"; "fortuitous encounters--strange accidents of fortune"; "we cannot regard artistic invention as...uncaused and unrelated to the times"|
unintended - not deliberate
|2.||fortuitous - occurring by happy chance; "profits were enhanced by a fortuitous drop in the cost of raw materials"|
fortunate - having unexpected good fortune; "other, less fortunate, children died"; "a fortunate choice"
fortuitous[fɔːrˈtjuːɪtəs] adj → fortuit(e)
adv → zufällig