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[ser-uh n-dip-i-tee] /ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ ti/
an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
good fortune; luck:
the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.
Origin of serendipity
1754; Serendip + -ity; Horace Walpole so named a faculty possessed by the heroes of a fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip
Related forms
serendipiter, serendipitist, serendipper, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for serendipity
  • It's not a discovery, it's a stumble into the past, serendipity.
  • Their discovery well illustrates what hobbyists find attractive about stamp collecting: serendipity.
  • Although this theory has been widely accepted, finding an actual shock breakout was due to extreme serendipity.
  • serendipity plays an enormously important role in travel photography.
  • It turns out that serendipity played a role in the journey to the screen.
  • And serendipity arises when people are in a situation that fosters creativity.
  • The red soles offer the pleasure of secret knowledge to their wearer, and that of serendipity to their beholder.
  • What it meant, though, was that people who had previously gotten by on charm and serendipity now needed ready cash.
  • It was chemical serendipity of billion-dollar proportions: a tanning drug with all the right side effects.
  • Unfortunately, these products of serendipity haven't lived up to their promise.
British Dictionary definitions for serendipity


the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident
Derived Forms
serendipitous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: coined by Horace Walpole, from the Persian fairytale The Three Princes of Serendip, in which the heroes possess this gift
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for serendipity

1754 (but rare before 20c.), coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Horace Mann (dated Jan. 28); he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of." The name is from Serendip, an old name for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), from Arabic Sarandib, from Sanskrit Simhaladvipa "Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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