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.

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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

Indeed, McCullough himself discovered much of that history quite by happenstance. John Daniel Davidson, National Review, "Founders of the Frontier: David McCullough Discovers Ohio’s Puritan Pioneers," 11 July 2019 For all the time spent planning, so much of life comes down to happenstance. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women's soccer reaping benefits of what England started with coach Jill Ellis," 1 July 2019 The story goes that Rivera joined the band by pure happenstance: Dylan was driving through downtown Manhattan and spotted her on the street, carrying her violin, and invited her to audition. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Bob Dylan’s Glam Hootenanny: Returning to Rolling Thunder," 5 June 2019 How the Eagles landed a commitment from the 6-foot-3-inch Thornton on Monday, solidifying another explosive guard to run their offense, is a combination of timing and hoop happenstance. Julian Benbow, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston College basketball lands grad transfer Derryck Thornton to play guard," 17 June 2019 And the third thing is sort of breaking news, happenstance, people who are admired. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Tina Brown on 10 Years of Women in the World," 11 Apr. 2019 Calendars, like culture and language, are unruly things that have arisen organically by happenstance. Quanta Magazine, "Is It Friday the 13th Again?," 6 Apr. 2017 The litany of inequities black people and particularly black women face isn’t just the product of happenstance. Nina Turner, Vogue, "Why Universal Health Care, Higher Wages, and Free Public Education Are Crucial Issues for Black Women," 3 May 2019 Every mundane happenstance in the lives of Gigi and Bella Hadid has become tabloid fodder at some point. Glamour, "A Tabloid Called the Hadids’ Books ‘Hot Accessories’ and People Have Thoughts," 21 Mar. 2019

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

27 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for happenstance

The first known use of happenstance was in 1857

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More Definitions for happenstance



English Language Learners Definition of happenstance

formal + literary : something that happens by chance

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More from Merriam-Webster on happenstance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with happenstance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for happenstance

Nglish: Translation of happenstance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on happenstance

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of or relating to the heavens

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