One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Happening by chance rather than intention.‘the similarity between the paintings may not be simply fortuitous’chance, unexpected, unanticipated, unpredictable, unforeseen, unlooked-for, serendipitous, casual, incidental, coincidental, haphazard, random, accidental, inadvertent, unintentional, unintended, unplanned, unpremeditatedView synonyms
- 1.1 Happening by a lucky chance; fortunate.‘the ball went into the goal by a fortuitous ricochet’
lucky, fortunate, providential, advantageous, timely, opportune, serendipitous, expedient, heaven-sent, auspicious, propitious, felicitous, convenient, aptView synonyms
- ‘The goal was the key score, and a rather fortuitous one.’
- ‘As it turned out, it was rather fortuitous that I had stopped to have a short discussion with Irving.’
- ‘Violence itself becomes a means of reassurance, a fortuitous opportunity through which the strength of re-enforced steel is tested.’
- ‘Much of the success of the text is by design, other aspects are by fortuitous accident.’
- ‘It was rather fortuitous then, to have the Prime Minister himself underline the need for a more direct and reliable land route.’
- ‘He laughed to himself as he walked, thinking how lucky he'd been that his prank had had such fortuitous results.’
- ‘There things might have stayed, except for a rapid and fortuitous concatenation of circumstance and opportunity.’
- ‘They might have been, too, but for a rather fortuitous penalty awarded with nine minutes remaining.’
- ‘Make no mistake this was a hard won if rather fortuitous victory but like recent games it needn't have been so.’
- ‘If such evidence surfaces, watch out for another fortuitous destruction of those records.’
- ‘In our analysis, we took advantage of these fortuitous differences by incorporating weather as a categorical factor.’
- ‘By a fortuitous coincidence, it involves some real handcuffs.’
- ‘The road to the professional drama circuit was rather fortuitous.’
- ‘On a similar theme, red is a lucky or fortuitous colour so wedding banquets in Japan tend to have red food included.’
- ‘It had been obtained by one of those fortuitous coincidences that sometimes produce great journalism.’
- ‘This is fortuitous because the acreage of this convention center is unfathomable.’
- ‘Henry benefitted from several fortuitous breaks of the ball, but took full advantage as King's game began to unravel.’
- ‘This fortuitous and timely development supports faculty initiatives.’
- ‘The loft above the work space was a fortuitous accident that happened during construction.’
- ‘It probably arose from the accidental but fortuitous fermentation of grapes from wild vines.’
- 1.1 Happening by a lucky chance; fortunate.
The traditional, etymological meaning of fortuitous is ‘happening by chance’: a fortuitous meeting is a chance meeting, which might turn out to be either a good thing or a bad thing. Today, however, fortuitous tends to be often used to refer only to fortunate outcomes and the word has become more or less a synonym for ‘lucky’ or ‘fortunate’ (the ball went into the goal by a fortuitous ricochet). Although this usage is now widespread, it is still regarded by some people as incorrect
Mid 17th century: from Latin fortuitus, from forte ‘by chance’, from fors ‘chance, luck’.
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