hap·​pen·​stance | \ ˈha-pən-ˌstan(t)s How to pronounce happenstance (audio) , ˈha-pᵊm- \

Definition of happenstance

: a circumstance especially that is due to chance They came together by mere happenstance.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from happenstance

happenstance adjective

Examples of happenstance in a Sentence

Our meeting was pure happenstance. We met each other by happenstance. It was an agreeable happenstance that we met.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Khilwai, the village that fared well, was spared in part because of happenstance. New York Times, 11 July 2021 Despite its homage to happenstance, a consistent design runs through this miscellany. Boyd Tonkin, WSJ, 11 June 2021 Gamers use it in situations just like this, where one player is complaining about some unfair happenstance, while the solution to their losing is well within their control. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 May 2021 In the early 1980s, a struggling female pop singer and veteran athlete meet by happenstance on a flight headed to New York from Puerto Rico. Jon Wertheim, Vulture, 25 June 2021 Weeden’s election victory did not occur by happenstance, Weedensaid. BostonGlobe.com, 21 June 2021 Crafted by husband and wife team Brad Greatrix and Cherie Spriggs, who actually moved to Britain to work at the winery after discovering the sparkling wines by happenstance, the 2010 vintage is the first-ever rosé sparkling wine in the country. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, 12 June 2021 Others, like YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen, by happenstance arrived just before the pandemic and rode it out here. Leslie Nguyen-okwu, Quartz, 2 June 2021 The state is famous for its whales, seabirds, and brown bears, sure, but their existence always seemed pretty happenstance to me, and easy to take for granted. Emily Pennington, Outside Online, 13 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'happenstance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of happenstance

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for happenstance

happen + circumstance

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About happenstance

Time Traveler for happenstance

Time Traveler

The first known use of happenstance was in 1857

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near happenstance

happen into

happen on/upon



happen to



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for happenstance

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Happenstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happenstance. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for happenstance



English Language Learners Definition of happenstance

formal + literary : something that happens by chance

More from Merriam-Webster on happenstance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for happenstance

Nglish: Translation of happenstance for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!