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A word that a majority of high schoolers would know. Unless, of course, there is significant evidence that most high-schoolers know the word “serendipity”.

It shows up somewhere between 35,000 and 36,000 most frequent words: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists/PG/2006/04/30001-40000

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closed as general reference by Carlo_R., FumbleFingers, Zairja, Robusto, coleopterist Oct 31 '12 at 20:16

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
There isn't one. Why would you want it anyway? –  Barrie England Oct 31 '12 at 19:36
    
For a marketing slogan. –  Evan Oct 31 '12 at 19:42
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General Reference. Personally, I'd just use serendipity anyway (how are kids going to learn "hard" words if people don't use them?) - but if you want to be patronising, just say luck (I don't need to be told about the difference between "luck" and "serendipity", btw! :) –  FumbleFingers Oct 31 '12 at 19:43
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Though it's not just one word, if you must make a substitution, I like "good fortune." –  J.R. Oct 31 '12 at 19:48
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@Mitch - Does a passive-aggressive approach to conveying learning commend itself? –  Russell McMahon Oct 31 '12 at 23:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Happenstance (“A chance or random event or circumstance”) is another well-known word that might work. Regarding coincidence, the collocation happy coincidence is not uncommon, and might interchange with serendipity.

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but wait ... high-schoolers don't know "serendipity" (one of the most popular spaceships in fiction!) but they would know 'happenstance'????????? –  Joe Blow Sep 27 at 12:03
    
Wait I've got one! Since these kids don't know their Walpole, what about "jungian synchronicity"? It's not exactly the same but close enough! –  Joe Blow Sep 27 at 12:06

Fluke comes to mind: it means "A stroke of good luck" and implies happenstance.

And of course: coincidence though that does not connote happy or positive.

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coincidence feels close. The fairly positive connotation of serendipity was definitely the goal, but I've been getting a surprising number of blank stares when the word 'serendipity' comes up. –  Evan Oct 31 '12 at 19:44

Serendipity just means luck, albeit in a good way not a bad one.

If “most high-schoolers don’t know serendipity”, well then perhaps they need to spend more time in school; it is, after all, a fairly unremarkable word. As Vlad is wont to say: I assure you, in the small fishing village I come from it forms the sole topic of conversation of grade-schooler and fish monger alike.

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May I ask who is "Vlad"? –  user19148 Oct 31 '12 at 20:33

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