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

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 Everybody’s looking for something, or someone, or some happenstance to pull them out of their loop. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018 While the documentary is being made, his photographs are discovered almost by happenstance, by a friend with connections to the art world — and Hogancamp finds himself with an exhibition at a gallery in Greenwich Village. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Before you see Welcome to Marwen, stream the documentary about the true story behind it," 21 Dec. 2018 Mario Tama / Getty Images Elon Musk unintentionally avoided a real crisis of happenstance this fall. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Elon Musk says he ‘probably’ wouldn’t take money from the Saudis now," 2 Nov. 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

13 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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food or victuals

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