Definition of coincidence in English:



  • 1A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.

    ‘it was a coincidence that she was wearing a jersey like Laura's’
    mass noun ‘they met by coincidence’
    • ‘The Pennine Acute Trust said the timing of the letter was a coincidence and not connected to the Observer story.’
    • ‘By coincidence, a few hours earlier one of White's many underworld contacts had phoned offering information.’
    • ‘We would share stories of mistaken identity, confused publicists and editors, odd coincidences and connections.’
    • ‘In a remarkable coincidence, the front of his home was demolished in a freak car accident for the second time - by the same man.’
    • ‘‘It is hard to believe that so many events and coincidences occurred in just 12 months,’ he writes.’
    • ‘By coincidence, I got there a few minutes before Bob Hager, who had an appointment.’
    • ‘His theory explains what appears to be a remarkable coincidence.’
    • ‘By coincidence, my friend Nat Gertler was at the same performance last night of The Producers.’
    • ‘And the bizarre events and coincidences pile up more and more as the story proceeds.’
    • ‘It beggars belief to think that these concurrent developments are mere coincidences.’
    • ‘We can even make sense of such a coincidence in the case of events such as battles and headaches.’
    • ‘By coincidence I was trailing two unsuspecting girls also apparently going to the show.’
    • ‘Especially toward the end, these coincidences and connections between the characters become almost comical.’
    • ‘Identical twins are about to marry a pair of lookalike sisters in a double ceremony next month to cap 25 years of remarkable coincidences.’
    • ‘By coincidence, both of October's plays were other people's ideas.’
    • ‘By one of the most remarkable coincidences in all sport, that very same year saw the publication for the first time of the laws of cricket.’
    • ‘The win was a remarkable coincidence for Hazel, who worked as a domestic cleaner for one of the Turnbull family more than ten years ago.’
    • ‘By coincidence, he lived in my same building where I had just bought an apartment but I still hadn't moved in yet.’
    • ‘It is a remarkable coincidence that the elections were held on the eleventh anniversary of these dramatic events.’
    • ‘By coincidence, the factory closed down in 1912, the year the Titanic went down at sea with such a huge loss of life.’
    accident, chance, serendipity, fate, a twist of fate, destiny, fortuity, fortune, providence, freak, hazard
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  • 2mass noun The fact of corresponding in nature or in time of occurrence.

    ‘the coincidence of interest between the mining companies and certain politicians’
    • ‘Several coincidences between genes encoding for enzymes of N metabolism and QTLs for the traits studied were observed.’
    • ‘This surprising degree of coincidence of territory and national identity has been achieved in two ways.’
    • ‘There is little coincidence of interest between the consumer and a state-owned utility.’
    • ‘For most of the time, this coincidence of interest was recognized.’
    co-occurrence, coexistence, conjunction, simultaneity, simultaneousness, contemporaneity, contemporaneousness, concomitance, synchronicity, synchrony
    correspondence, agreement, accord, concurrence, match, fit, consistency, conformity, harmony, compatibility, dovetailing, correlation, parallelism
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  • 3Physics
    The presence of ionizing particles or other objects in two or more detectors simultaneously, or of two or more signals simultaneously in a circuit.

    • ‘One of the most famous anthropic coincidences was discovered by the English physicist Sir Fred Hoyle in 1954.’
    • ‘In their estimation, nothing could explain the coincidences except the momentary passing of a gravitational wave.’
    • ‘When the beams were in phase, they detected five times as many coincidences as when they were out of phase.’


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘occupation of the same space’): from medieval Latin coincidentia, from coincidere ‘coincide, agree’ (see coincide).