Serendipity Meaning & Examples (Did You Know This?)
What is Serendipity? What are some clear examples and what does this statement mean at all? In this article, let’s look at the origins and meaning of serendipity. Read further…
The definition of Serendipity
The definition of serendipity is, according to the dictionary:
1) The happiness of making wonderful discoveries by pure chance 2) Unexpectedly finding something
You could therefore also call serendipity a stroke of luck. A situation where you find good things without looking for them.
Serendipity is an unplanned, happy discovery.
Origin of the word serendipity
Serendipity does not come from Latin or Greek, but was invented by a British nobleman in the mid 1700s from an old Persian fairy tale: The Three Princes of Serendip. The meaning of the word, finding good things by chance, refers to the fairytale characters who always made discoveries by chance.
Serendipity is a common phenomenon in the history of product development and scientific discovery.
Serendipity is thus a British word. In June 2004, a UK translation agency selected this word as one of the ten most difficult English words to translate. The word has been exported to many other languages.
Serendipity in a sentence? Examples of serendipity
You can thank the phenomenon of serendipity when you find a pencil on an empty desk, just as you walk into an exam and realize you’ve forgotten yours.
Serendipity is like looking for a needle in a haystack and rolling out with a peasant girl.
Most everyday products have serendipitous roots.
- The origin of cheese , for example, may have stemmed from the nomadic habit of storing milk in the stomach of a dead pig or cow attached to the saddle of a live camel, mixing enzymes from the stomach with the milk was stored in it.
- The Post-It Note was created after a scientist produced a weak adhesive. A colleague used it to keep bookmarks in place on a church hymn.
- A scientist patented the idea behind the microwave after noticing that radar emissions had melted the candy in his pocket.
- Velcro was discovered because someone during his bird hunt saw a certain type of plant, the Late Spikelnut, stuck to his pants and dog. Viewed under a microscope, the plant’s bud was covered with small hooks. The observation eventually led to the invention of the Velcro fastener
Related Terms: Synchronicity, coincidence and zemblanity
If you look at the meaning of the word synchronicity , you will see similarities with serendipity. You could also use the word coincidence, although the coincidence of the term synchronicity, Carl Jung, tended to believe that a stronger force than coincidence is involved.
William Boyd coined the term zemblanity, not translated into Dutch, at the end of the twentieth century to indicate the opposite of serendipity: unfortunate and unexpected discoveries. A zemblanity is, in fact, an unpleasant surprise.
There is a book that you can see as a collection of numerous scientific “testimonies” of serendipity. The author of the book ‘Serendipity’ has been involved in collecting serendipities from science, technology and art. In this book you will also find the English translation of the old Persian fairy tale about the three princes of Serendip.
On your luck!