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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Serendipity

The word for today is serendipity. I'll leave the history of the word for the reference below. The reason I like the word is because it conveys a sense of more than just luck in making a discovery, but also the skill to recognise something of benefit. You could call it a combination of fortune and perception. It takes nothing to receive something by luck, but it is truly serendipitous to be on a path that leads to an accident in the first place, and then to perceive that the accident is of benefit. I guess what it says to me is that you make your own luck.


ser·en·dip·i·ty ( P ) Pronunciation Key (srn-dp-t)n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties

The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
An instance of making such a discovery.

[From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian Sarandp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic sarandb.]

seren·dipi·tous adj. seren·dipi·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....”

3 comments:

Ewen said...

It's serendipitous I found your blog.

The word-verification is a good test of my touch-typing and eyesight, however I'll try 'without' when I get around to changing it. There are too many bloody Daddos in the world already.

I'll look out for red SARRC sinlets on Sunday week.

Phil said...

SARRC Singlets are not red these days, rather White with Navy trim and logo on back. But say hullo anyways!

Good to see you back out on the move, even if it was only a gentle effort, Dave.

A Girl Running said...

I have never liked that word for some reason, it sounds made up and a bit silly. I like the meaning though.