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

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 Completed in 1913, the nation’s first curvilinear bridge earned that distinction almost by happenstance. Matthew Segal, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Complicated Case of the Colorado Street Bridge," 18 June 2018 Spider-Man is a victim of happenstance and a radioactive spider. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Whiteness Is a Superpower," 15 June 2018 Chieh’s stewardship of Boxed’s skyrocket growth is not happenstance. Paul C. Brunson, USA TODAY, "Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and the genius of frugal leadership," 13 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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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

What made you want to look up happenstance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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