Like serendipitous, serendipity is one of my favourite words, both for its sound and its meaning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
And, like Brexiteer, post-truth and quidditch, it was a coinage. On this occasion the person responsible was gossipy Horace Walpole — another of my favourites. He was extrapolating from the now largely forgotten Persian fairy tale of the Three Princes of Serendip.
A present from the Universe, in fact!
Serendipity and Discovery
You could say that Columbus’s discovery of America was serendipitous. He was looking for a western route to Japan, after all. Continue reading