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serendipity

[ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]
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noun
  1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
  2. good fortune; luck: the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.
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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 formsser·en·dip·it·er, ser·en·dip·i·tist, ser·en·dip·per, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for serendipity

serendipity

noun
  1. the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident
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Derived Formsserendipitous, 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

Word Origin and History for serendipity

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper