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 That misfortune would befall some of them over the last 11 years isn't due to a divine or demonic intervention, but math combined with happenstance. James Hibberd, EW.com, "No, Glee is not cursed. Please stop saying that.," 9 July 2020 The discovery of the mine began with a happenstance find when students in a cave surveying class led by Fred Devos, a cave diver with CINDAQ, spotted a previously unnoticed tunnel while diving in the Sagitario cave system. National Geographic, "11,000-year-old mine in underwater cave surprises archaeologists," 3 July 2020 Shuttered bookstores are a reminder of how much of our reading lives is a process of discovery and happenstance. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Body of slain girl found in Frederick, authorities say," 29 June 2020 The two winners, who by happenstance live only several doors apart, were surprised by SBISD Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, Ed. Spring Branch Isd, Houston Chronicle, "Spring Branch ISD 2020 honors Teachers of the Year," 29 May 2020 In fact, ties between China’s state and diaspora businesses are mostly the result of happenstance, not a master plan. The Economist, "Chinese diaspora Inc South-East Asian tycoons’ high-wire act," 28 May 2020 But by some happenstance, the message written on a postcard made its way to the rightful recipient this week. Paul Willis, 76, lives in the small town of Thornton, Iowa. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Man says he just received a postcard from 1987 after coronavirus deep cleaning at his post office," 7 May 2020 By happenstance, photojournalist Genna Martin was there when travel halted because of the coronavirus. Massimo Vitali, National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 28 Apr. 2020 For Charles Harshfield, however, purchasing a home in this historic district was happenstance. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "A touch of color, splash of Africa and a flock of roosters make this historic bungalow pop," 2 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of happenstance was in 1857

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Statistics for happenstance

Last Updated

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Happenstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happenstance. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for happenstance


How to pronounce happenstance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of happenstance

formal + literary : something that happens by chance

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More from Merriam-Webster on happenstance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for happenstance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with happenstance

Nglish: Translation of happenstance for Spanish Speakers

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