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 ?
As the title suggests, there is an effort to locate threads of serendipity woven through the historical tapestry of discovery.
Webster's definition of serendipity is "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." My definition is "when good things happen by accident." Serendipity can also happen in a research laboratory.
What serendipity sent Ron Jobe to the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable?
He describes how serendipity led to groundbreaking medical treatments in four major areas: infectious diseases, cancer, heart disease, and mental health.
20 to purchase and develop the 66-acre property near the former Serendipity parcel along Route 146, which the town co-owns with Louis Tusino.
Marilyn Nelson and illustrator Jerry Pinkney's story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the first racially integrated "all girl" jazz band of the '40s, to Lauri Hornik at Dial, by Regina Brooks at Serendipity Literary Agency.
Seth Jackson Horne's "Friendship-Fate-Fortune" is an original novel about the role of serendipity in the successful lives of two friends and business partners, Bob Callaway and Doug Jennings.
Serendipity machine; a voyage of discovery through the unexpected world of computers.
Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans hardly brings the word "serendipity" to mind, but Southern Rep artistic director Ryan Rilette is finding a use for the phrase.
Serendipity 3, a long-time favorite ice cream destination in New York City for natives and tourists, has introduced a $1,000 sundae which features five scoops of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream mixed with exotic candies and truffles; topped with a dribble of bittersweet chocolate with a 70% cacao content and fruit-infused caviar and edible gold leaf; and served in a $300 Baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18-carat gold spoon (which the consumer gets to keep, of course).
Of course, all of this can't really be condensed into a formula--there needs to be good timing as well, and perhaps a bit of serendipity.
l Understanding English, by WE Ball, is available from Serendipity on 0845 1302434 or via serendipity@tiscali.co.uk.