One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Happening by accident or chance rather than design.‘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.‘from a cash standpoint, the company's timing is fortuitous’
lucky, fortunate, providential, advantageous, timely, opportune, serendipitous, expedient, heaven-sent, auspicious, propitious, felicitous, convenient, aptView synonyms
- ‘It was rather fortuitous then, to have the Prime Minister himself underline the need for a more direct and reliable land route.’
- ‘If such evidence surfaces, watch out for another fortuitous destruction of those records.’
- ‘It probably arose from the accidental but fortuitous fermentation of grapes from wild vines.’
- ‘This is fortuitous because the acreage of this convention center is unfathomable.’
- ‘It had been obtained by one of those fortuitous coincidences that sometimes produce great journalism.’
- ‘The road to the professional drama circuit was rather fortuitous.’
- ‘There things might have stayed, except for a rapid and fortuitous concatenation of circumstance and opportunity.’
- ‘Much of the success of the text is by design, other aspects are by fortuitous accident.’
- ‘Henry benefitted from several fortuitous breaks of the ball, but took full advantage as King's game began to unravel.’
- ‘The goal was the key score, and a rather fortuitous one.’
- ‘The loft above the work space was a fortuitous accident that happened during construction.’
- ‘Make no mistake this was a hard won if rather fortuitous victory but like recent games it needn't have been so.’
- ‘He laughed to himself as he walked, thinking how lucky he'd been that his prank had had such fortuitous results.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘By a fortuitous coincidence, it involves some real handcuffs.’
- ‘This fortuitous and timely development supports faculty initiatives.’
- ‘In our analysis, we took advantage of these fortuitous differences by incorporating weather as a categorical factor.’
- ‘They might have been, too, but for a rather fortuitous penalty awarded with nine minutes remaining.’
- ‘On a similar theme, red is a lucky or fortuitous colour so wedding banquets in Japan tend to have red food included.’
- 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. In modern uses, however, fortuitous tends more often to be used to refer to fortunate outcomes, and the word has become more or less a synonym for ‘lucky’ or ‘fortunate.’ This use is frowned upon as being not etymologically correct and is best avoided except in informal contexts
Mid 17th century: from Latin fortuitus, from forte ‘by chance’, from fors ‘chance, luck’.
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