from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
- n. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
- n. An instance of making such a discovery.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected discovery and/or learning experience that happens by accident and sagacity.
- n. A combination of events which are not individually beneficial, but occurring together produce a good or wonderful outcome.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The happy faculty, or luck, of finding, by “accidental sagacity,” interesting items of information or unexpected proofs of one's theories; discovery of things unsought: a factitious word humorously invented by Horace Walpole.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
The word serendipity comes from the Persian fairy tale
On January 28, 1754, Horace Walpole coined the term serendipity, which means finding something you're not looking for but which you nonetheless need.
The word "serendipity" comes 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."
Put another, metaphorical way, American writers tend toward an expressive register commensurate with the open spaces and endless distances of our continent; Perec's magnitude is no less great, but his vastness is essentially urban, highly structured, and by necessity constrained, entailing complex negotiations and yielding delight in serendipity, surprise, and incongruity.
Cooperation with other more northerly atmospheric weather patterns or oscillations and a little serendipity is needed to get an exceptionally snowy winter.
The accidental discovery of a new idea is called serendipity.
Not to actually equate Alberta's avarice in serendipity with slavery, of course.
Sometimes serendipity is a factor in the projects I pick.
You can read Chapter 1 of The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science, by Robert K. Merton and Elinor Barber, here From the names of cruise lines and bookstores to an Australian ranch and a nudist camp outside of Atlanta, the word serendipity—that happy blend of wisdom and luck by which something is discovered not quite by accident—is today ubiquitous.
This was also my first exercise in serendipity, (the art of looking for something and finding something else), because I was not after a mercury lamp but after a cadmium lamp, and that was not a success.