Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


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...."
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ təs)

of, pertaining to, or suggesting serendipity.
ser`en•dip′i•tous•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.serendipitous - lucky in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
lucky - having or bringing good fortune; "my lucky day"; "a lucky man"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


adjective lucky, chance, fortuitous, unexpected, random, casual, accidental, spontaneous, unforeseen, unintentional, coincidental, unanticipated, inadvertent, unforeseeable, unlooked-for It appears to have been a serendipitous discovery made around the year 200.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


[ˌsɛrənˈdɪpɪtəs] adj [discovery, event] → inespéré(e)
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Now that the German contract has been cancelled, surely this presents one of those serendipitous opportunities to do the right thing by all concerned?
AND the serendipitous inflow of cash into the Council's coffers might also make it self-financing.
Our serendipitous good fortune is invoked routinely for any number of purposes.
I see nothing new at People's Park in January 2019 but the relaxing mood at one o'clock in the afternoon is a serendipitous treat.
Stall holders are set to include: Created by Sheilaanne, Crafty Fox Design, Yomojo, Make a Mark Jewellery, Scurry & Peck, Fiona Kingdon Artist in Wood, Waci Glass, Jacqui Grace, Barry D Bulsara Printworks, Embroidered Landscapes by Anne Harrison, Rod Shaw Art & Design, Helen Rhodes, Maria Boyd, Christina Kalkun, Barbara Bagley, Hello Nelly Jane, Seed Home Designs, Naomi Smith Illustrations, Keebleart, Lynne Fox Ceramics, Oddbods, Katie's Candles, Sew Serendipitous Handbags, Carole Holme, David Salsbury, Cabrelli Design, Makers & Moon, Nancy Power Prints, Melbourne Soap Company, The Paper Creative, Kyte Creative, and Shirley Rainbow.
'It was serendipitous that Starmedia prepared a solo 40th Anniversary concert for him and a US tour with the OPM stalwarts and colleagues just recently,' Anna said.
It was an unforgettable commemoration of an enduring love and a serendipitous meeting.
It was almost serendipitous that the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll was in the field at the start of the border crisis - and that we included a question asking Texas voters how they felt about separating families.
Written at the intersections of the personal, political, and professional, the essays describe the twists and turns of specific research projects and recommend ways to invite these serendipitous moments.
Amisi and Ogolla earlier said they had written to Muturi asking for the recall of the National Assembly to discuss what they termed 'shockingly serendipitous massive failures by candidates.'
Importantly, after the merged organization successfully integrates, it is also possible to achieve serendipitous value creation, or value creation that is unplanned or even "lucky" because the firm did not anticipate that the combined resources (i.e., tangible and intangible resources--see Barney, 1991) of the merged organization could create value in such a manner.
However, wouldn't the surprising and serendipitous nature of a random item link as a point of departure into a database sometimes earn the interest of students just as well as these two options, while providing an interesting challenge to the instructor?