Thursday, October 16, 2008


What is serendipity? The first time I encountered the word was when a movie entitled the same was released. I admit enjoying the romantic-comedy feature, and had always used the term for my oh so serendipitous moments...
But what then does serendipity mean?
ser·en·dip·i·ty [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]
1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck.
[Origin: 1754; Serendip + -ity; Horace Walpole so named a faculty possessed by the heroes of a fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip ]
ser'en·dip'i·tous adj., ser'en·dip'i·tous·ly adv.
Word History: 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...."
And here are a few quotable lines from the film Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale:
  • "Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, but rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite sublime plan."
  • "When love feels like magic, it's called destiny. When destiny has a sense of humor, it's called serendipity."
  • "If we are to live life in harmony with the universe - we all must possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call fatem, what we currently refer to as destiny."
  • "Maybe we’re lying here because we’re not supposed to be standing somewhere else."
The next time something doesn't go as planned or as you expected, take a deep breath and think, this might just be one of your serendipitous moments. :)
American Psychological Association (APA):
serendipity. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved October 14, 2008, from website:
Chicago Manual Style (CMS):
serendipity. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: October 14, 2008).
Modern Language Association (MLA):
"serendipity." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 14 Oct. 2008.

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