Word of the Day

Thursday, October 18, 2001

serendipity

\ser-uhn-DIP-uh-tee\ , noun;
1.
The faculty or phenomenon of making fortunate accidental discoveries.
Quotes:
Still, I was more subject to serendipity than I yet knew. Soon risk, chance, and a letter from Sir Alun Reese-Jones, the Master of Trinity, my college at Cambridge, were to set my life on an adventurous course.
-- David Freeman, One of Us
Yet even as I planned a rough route, leaving plenty of room for serendipity, I was uncomfortably aware that journeys have a way of creating their own momentum.
-- Lesley Hazleton, Driving To Detroit
There again, perhaps because of serendipity, or an especially conscientious team of doctors, it can also happen that the crucial clues are noticed and recorded for posterity.
-- Edward Hooper, The River
Origin:
The word serendipity was formed by English author Horace Walpole (1717-1797) from Serendip (also Serendib), an old name for Sri Lanka, in reference to a Persian tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes "discovered, quite unexpectedly, great and wonderful good in the most unlikely of situations, places and people."
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