hap·pen·stance | \ˈha-pən-ˌstan(t)s, ˈha-pᵊm-\

Definition of happenstance 

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The message O’Connor sent with the benchings on Saturday night was, in essence, telling the players to stop deluding themselves into thinking the nine-match losing streak was some fluky happenstance of bad breaks, bad officiating and bad coaching. Mike Bianchi, Pro Soccer USA, "James O’Connor is finally forcing Orlando City’s players to look in the mirror," 14 July 2018 That reduces the likelihood that this was just happenstance. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The stench of Michael Cohen’s consulting business grows," 26 May 2018 The sort of belt that would give a girl a fit of delight in a vintage store or be found by happenstance in a relative's closet. Laura Brown, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Look: Totally Waisted," 25 Aug. 2015 By happenstance, the ruling came down as the Legislature considers still another foray into controlling what Californians may legally say. Dan Walters, SFChronicle.com, "Supreme Court voids California law, upholds free speech," 27 June 2018 That team had squared off with the Warriors almost by happenstance, thanks to an unbelievable comeback against the Clippers, and had been routed in short order. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "From Sixth Man to MVP: James Harden Reflects on Steady Climb to NBA Mountain Top," 26 June 2018 Related The episode underscores that Supreme Court cases don’t always arise by happenstance. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Retailers’ Careful Strategy to Overturn Sales-Tax Precedent," 22 June 2018 Greg McCown, a 42-year-old real estate salesperson, has been trying for seven whole years to photograph an incredibly illusive happenstance—lightning and rainbow in the same picture. Sasha Henriques, Woman's Day, "This Stunning Photo Caught TWO Incredible Moments in Nature at the Same Time," 12 Aug. 2015 Lagana said during the panel, responding to a question about whether some of the clever, complex in-jokes occurred by happenstance. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "How American Vandal expertly crafted a doc (that just happened to be fiction)," 23 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of happenstance

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for happenstance

happen + circumstance

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Statistics for happenstance

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for happenstance

The first known use of happenstance was in 1857

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English Language Learners Definition of happenstance

: something that happens by chance

Comments on happenstance

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lying above or upon

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