I am trying to come up with a single word that describes the saying "meant to be" in a poetic and prophetic manner (but I am not looking for a fantastical description that talks too much about fate).

Specifically this is referring to a situation where Neil deGrasse Tyson succeeded Carl Sagan as host of the show 'Cosmos'. In Carl Sagan's personal journal, he had mentioned that he had always wanted to meet Neil deGrasse, since he had a lot of respect for him.

Anyway, it was almost "meant to be" that Neil deGrasse would become the next host of Cosoms. The closest word I could think of was "poetic." -- It was very "poetic" that Neil deGrasse would take over as host of Cosmos...but it is not exactly the word I am looking for.

Any suggestions??

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    As the answers below show, underlying whatever vocabulary is eventually chosen is the philosophical question of whether we believe there to be an agent or natural force involved. Mar 13 '14 at 21:44
  • @Edwin. Interestingly, all the current answers seem to be based on the idea that there is some "higher power" who/which preordained whatever later eventuality came to pass. And of course it's not exactly unknown for theists to cite examples of such things as evidence that their god does indeed move in mysterious ways. But as a fully committed Dawkinista, I'd probably just settle for apposite - apt in the circumstances or in relation to something: Mar 13 '14 at 22:02
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    It seemeth me specially weird that fate should be a major theme running through a question concerning Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
    – bye
    Mar 14 '14 at 3:23
  • 1
    Sagan did meet NDT when NDT was 17. He talked about that meeting in the first episode of the new Cosmos series. Mar 14 '14 at 14:15
  • I'm in agreement with @FumbleFingers - my answer didn't suggest apposite, but it's a good fit for a one-word answer. Mar 14 '14 at 16:00

18 Answers 18


Fated seems pretty appropriate here. But also destined, preordained, and not one word but 'in the stars seems pretty apropos given the context.

EDIT - added after comment below Leon Conrad

It sounds like you mean that it was appropriate, suitable, felicitous, proper, apt, or, as I used above, apropos.

  • Yes! You are dead on. I really like "apropos"...it is very apropos. hah!
    – Krypt
    Mar 13 '14 at 21:45
  • Please mark the answer as correct if you like it. Mar 14 '14 at 10:31
  • "In the stars" seems particularly inappropriate given the context, unless you suggest that massive, luminous spheres of plasma held together by their own gravity had an effect on the choice.
    – Jon Hanna
    Mar 14 '14 at 14:14

Kismet sums it all up.

Destiny; fate:


You want poetic, you'll get poetic.

Written in the stars: it was destined to happen. The belief that our fate is written in the stars is ancient (horoscopes are a modern use of that belief), and certainly made famous by Shakespear's use in Romeo and Juliet

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife...

Also, preordained: happening inevitably. Connotes a higher power meant for it to be.

all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. - Psalm 139

As the Fates would have it.


Another possibility would be inevitable:

adj. Impossible to avoid or prevent.

While it does not carry the connotation of fate or any indication of poetry, it is the word I'd use for something that was bound to happen.

  • Best said in the voice of Agent Smith Mar 14 '14 at 15:34

Kismet. Kismet means "fate".

Synonyms: circumstance, destiny, doom, fortune, fate, lot, portion Related Words: accident, casualty [archaic], chance, hap, happenchance, happenstance, hazard, luck; predestination; aftereffect, aftermath, conclusion, consequence, development, effect, fruit, issue, outcome, outgrowth, result, resultant, sequel, sequence, upshot



How about Predestined or predetermined?

  • Actually, I suppose when I mentioned "prophetic" I was misleading, since words such as these are very fantastical. I'm looking for something more like "it was very fitting" or "it was very poetic". If you used words such as "predetermined", you would have to preface it: "it was as if it was predetermined that..."
    – Krypt
    Mar 13 '14 at 21:38

'Manifest' might be appropriate.

  • Yes!! I really like that one!
    – Krypt
    Mar 13 '14 at 21:44
  • This short answer could be more helpful if you provide a little more detail. For example, you might explain further why you think this word is appropriate, define it, or tell us how you would use it in place of "poetic" in the OP's question.
    – aedia λ
    Mar 13 '14 at 22:07

How about "apt"? "It was apt that Neil Degrasse became the next host of Cosmos because Carl Sagan would have wanted it so".


Out of respect for what the show is trying to encourage (reason, scientific thinking) I would suggest that it would be entirely inappropriate to use any language that suggests fate, destiny or any other eschatological mechanism -- others here have used language that is suited to the show's themes, like "fitting" "heir apparent"; you could even forgo your instinct to use a single word and write something out more explicitly.

Or you could use the language of evolution and make it clear that while there was a complex chain of historical conditions and events that led to NDT being selected as host, the important factors are the specific attributes he had adapted to thrive in the hostile environment of Broadcast Television.

But that might be too clever, so I'd stick with the former.


foreordained is often used, in a somewhat more mystical or supernatural sense (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/foreordain)


Synchronicity, or a variation of.


Ordained, written, preordained, fated, kismet, and the archaic ardane would all match the meaning asked for.

However, none would be particularly appropriate in this case; even in figurative use it would be quite counter to the spirit of the show, and to Sagan's work more generally—"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" so where is your evidence that this was "meant" to be?

It would be more fitting perhaps to refer to Tyson as an apt choice.


Given their history together, Neil DeGrasse Tyson was the "fitting, heir apparent" to host the newly revived Cosmos series.

Definition of "heir apparent" from MWO:

heir apparent: noun

1: an heir whose right to receive money, property, or a title cannot be taken away

2: a person who is very likely to have a job or position after the person who has it now leaves

  • He's not an heir apparent, he really is presenting the show now.
    – Jon Hanna
    Mar 14 '14 at 14:13
  • Got your point, @JonHanna. I edited my answer. :-) Mar 14 '14 at 14:23

Perhaps inexorable is suitable here? It literally means something that cannot be prevented, but is more often used to mean something that is 'fated' so to speak. I am not sure if it is exactly what you look for but may help.


Apropos. Appropriate to a situation. Meaning that, it was meant to be.


How about "fitting". It was very fitting that this gentleman would be the new host. It has less to do with fate and more to do with skills and background for the position. "Apt", as already mentioned, implies the appropriateness of this occurrence rather than some divine scheme.


might the word be: inevitable


It was inevitable that Neil deGrasse would take over as host of Cosmos


You could try preordained:-

(especially of a power thought to be greater than ordinary people) to decide or fix what will happen in a way that cannot be changed or controlled:

Illness and suffering seemed (to be) preordained to be her lot.

His life seems to have followed a preordained path/direction.

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