Serendipity - unexpected good fortune
- The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
- The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
- 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 Sarandp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic sarandb.]
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 his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that “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 traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of....”