Thursday, 20 September 2007

Meaning and origin of Serendipity


Just the sound of this word pisses me off. I have an inherent dislike for this word I cannot explain. A couple of years ago this was one of the “in” words that was used “ad vomitum”. Truth be told I never really understood the true meaning or origin. Could see no Latin root or any other clue for that matter.
Today, I heard the word again, and decided to do some digging to come to terms with myself. It appears as though I am the only person in the world who does not understand where this word comes from.
The meaning is the easy part.
“Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely” : Wikipedia.
Not much confusion about that.
It would appear as though Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was known as Serendip a long time ago. There is an old Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” who blundered around and good things happened to them for all the wrong reasons.
In 1754, an English author, Horace Walpole, created the word serendipity, based on this story.
There are 6,780,000 hits for Serendipity on the Internet. To test the magnitude of this number I did a search on “boobs”, which gave 33,200,000 hits. So, boobs are 5x more popular than serendipity. Ha..
Most references are to things scientific. Scientist looking for something and accidentally finds something else. “Silly Putty” a good example.
“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter." Julius Comroe Jr
“You don’t look for serendipity, it finds you” : GrahamJ
As I am the last person in the world to understand this, there is, in essence, no purpose in publishing this post, but, maybe there is one more person somewhere.

8 comments:

ICE said...

Can I be that person? ;-)

Graham said...

HA....And then there were 2....

Anonymous said...

Nou is ons 3. Ek haat die donnerse woord

Anonymous said...

Nou is ons 3. Ek haat die donnerse woord

Hawk said...

Why don't you tell us how you really feel about the word "serendipity"!

Enjoyed the heck out of the read!

Trying to catch-up on post so it will take me a while. I like the site and flavor. It certainly is not plain vanilla. Oh, I have added your site to my roll!

Ato de...

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

chaitanya said...

is serendipity is a pity of god over researchers?-----prakash