from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A chance circumstance: "Marriage loomed only as an outgrowth of happenstance; you met a person” ( Bruce Weber).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A chance or random event or circumstance.
  • n. The chance or random quality of an event or circumstance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an event that might have been arranged although it was really accidental


happen + (circum)stance.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of happening and circumstance. (Wiktionary)



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  • “You can expect to see this word about twice a year.�? – Wordnik
    Wow, I had thought it was fairly common until I noticed that it was even missing from one of my dictionaries. But it's so useful.

    September 22, 2009