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Monday, April 11, 2016

Serendipity - Wordsmith, Part 1

I decided to toss around some interesting words. As a writer, and particularly one who writes in her non-native language, I'm constantly trying to expand my vocabulary. I love words, most of all those whose meaning I don't know or I keep forgetting, such as:


Where does it come from and what does it mean?

Merriam Webster defines it as: "luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for."

Wikipedia: "'fortunate happenstance' or 'pleasant surprise'. 

It was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 in reference to the Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip. 

Did you know this, my fellow scriveners or loyal readers? 

I ordered the fairy tale from the library and look forward to reading it.

And, by the way, "fortunate happenstance"--happenstance, anybody?
It means, of course, coincidence. What I didn't know: it stems from the late 19th century and is a blend of:
"happen" and "circumstance."

Enough for today. 

Are you having fun with words? What are your favorite ones? 


  1. I love the word serendipity ... it's fun to say. I did already know what serendipity meant, but I didn't know that happenstance was a blended word. So, thanks for teaching me something today. I wrote a blog post once about words I love to say, so I'll give you a few: Taliesin, Tatiana, evanescence, soliloquy, arpeggio, and oubliette.

  2. Thank, you, Linda! "evanescence and soliloquy" are on my list to study. Taliesin, Tatiana, arpeggio, and oubliette"--wow, there is no end to fascinating words!

  3. I love learning the origin of words too. Some words just excite me. I can't put too many unfamiliar words in my books as it might turn the children off. But I throw the odd one in to keep it interesting and maybe they will look it up or ask an adult what it means. Serendipity is a good one and I didn't know it came from a Persian fairy tale. Thanks!

  4. Hi, Darlene! I sometimes feel like a kid myself when I discover a new word or when one of the ones I keep forgetting finally sticks in my mind. I think children who love to read may enjoy the occasional unusual word. But you're right, too many may discourage them!