I need a noun that succinctly describes the enigmatic concept of something that, based on your tastes, you would probably like, but didn't know you'd like. Anyone game?

Edit: If it can be understood in context, a made-up word is just as good, if not better.

Edit2: I've seen a lot of mentions of the word "serendipity". "Serendipity" carries too many connotations of "fate" and "luck." This concept would have to deal with the idea of something being introduced to you by someone who knows, evidently, that you would like this thing.

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    I propose 'marmite' as a new term for this.
    – mgb
    May 26, 2011 at 16:43
  • +1 Good question. I feel there must be a noun that sums this up, but all I can come up with are combos: surprisingly good, an unexpected delight and so on. I considered eye-opener, but that can also have negative connotations. Damn.
    – Robusto
    May 26, 2011 at 16:44
  • +1 for good question, but I'm not sure there would be a single noun for such things. May 26, 2011 at 16:48
  • @dclowd9901: Your title and your question text ask different things. Which do you mean? Something you unexpectedly discover you like even though it's not normally your kind of thing, as in the title? Or something you'd expect to like, but just don't happen to know of, as in the question text? May 26, 2011 at 16:55
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    @dclowd9901: maybe coinage really isn't the problem but frivolity? (I find 'searchability' a perfectly acceptable word hardly sounds like a coinage at all). Anyway, there's a related discussion Requests for Coinage. Maybe I'm just echoing here that I don't like other peoples coinages (but mine are OK :) )
    – Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 19:50

4 Answers 4


While the strict meaning is a bit different, the term lagniappe could potentially be stretched to serve as a word meaning "an unexpected gift" or pleasure.

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    online dictionaries give a second meaning for this which seems to match exactly what the OP wants.
    – Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 17:57
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    I really like this word. Very nice find. It's a bit abstract without the definition in hand, but maybe it can be "brought back" from arcane obscurity!
    – dclowd9901
    May 26, 2011 at 19:05
  • Does this question need two answers, one for a known pleasure, such as a cup of coffee, that I did not expect to receive, and another for something that I had not previously experienced or expected to be pleasurable, that nonetheless proved to be wonderful? The discovery of a gold sovereign on the beach versus the very first time a girl awoke my manhood. The preconditions are unknown presence of a known pleasure as opposed to the known presence of an unknown pleasure.
    – Max Murphy
    Feb 12, 2016 at 22:50

You might say it was serendipitously satisfying, where serendipity is the finding of valuable or agreeable things not specifically looked for.

Some people might interpret the serendipity in this expression as referring to the 'happy accident' of actually finding the satisfying thing, but to me it clearly indicates that it's the satisfaction itself that was unexpectedly found.

Or of course you could say it was unexpectly enjoyable/pleasurable, which would mean much the same. But I favour serendipitously because it's a somewhat more unusual word, so hopefully the hearer would pay it a bit more attention — and thereby avoid the misinterpretation as above.

LATER OP having clarified that he wants a single word, that it should be 'gifted' rather than chanced upon, and that he wants 'unexpectedness' associated with the fact of receiving it rather than unexpectly turning out to be a benefit, I suggest the alternative boon, (link) which is related to bonus, obviously, and carries the same associations of being received unexpectly and/or additionally.

  • I appreciate the effort, and I'm a huge fan of alliterative conjunctive phrases, so you get a vote, but I'm really looking for a singular noun, even if it doesn't exist yet.
    – dclowd9901
    May 26, 2011 at 17:03
  • @dclowd9901: I don't want to be rude, but you're not making sense. Read my comment against the question again. I have answered the question in the title. Your question text asks something totally different, and you haven't done anything to correct the discrepancy. May 26, 2011 at 17:14
  • You will not get the correct answer because you did not answer even the question in the title, which says "A word". I know you feel you deserve it, but stop being a poor sport, please. I knew going into asking this question that there probably wasn't a word in existence, and was looking for creative answers, not bitter people looking for votes.
    – dclowd9901
    May 26, 2011 at 17:18
  • @dclowd9901: I'm not bothered about any of the things you just mentioned. I'm bothered that you still haven't addressed the issue of your title and text being different questions. Please read my comment carefully so you understand the difference. Then decide which question you actually mean to be asking, and change one or the other. May 26, 2011 at 18:17

I was actually trying to answer "Is there a word meaning unexpected pleasure?" But that has been marked as duplicate, so I must answer here.

Everyone is overthinking this. How about treat?

To use an example from the other question:

For example: you book into a cheap hotel and have low expectations for a good experience (dirty linen, no room service, noise, etc) ... but then you discover that your favorite band is doing a gig there.

Or: you book into an expensive hotel, and figure there will be the usual roll call of luxuries perfectly executed to make your stay a pleasure ... but then you discover that your favorite band is doing a gig there.

This could be followed by "What a treat!"

  • Not a bad idea, but I'm not sure it succinctly captures the idea of the "treat" (and surely the end result is a treat) being the result of another person directly. It would have to be described in the context of "A treat from someone."
    – dclowd9901
    Sep 3, 2013 at 21:13

I haven't been able to come up with a pithy single noun. Here are some adjective-noun pairs that you might like:

  • Unexpected pleasure
  • Unforeseen joy
  • Welcome surprise
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    I was thinking along the same lines but the question unexpectedly asks this instead: based on your tastes, you would probably like. So either the question didn't come out as intended, or pleasure was expected, just not guaranteed. May 26, 2011 at 16:33
  • the problem is all your suggestions primarily suggest the unexpectedness of the pleasurable thing itself being presented, rather than the unexpectedness of it turning out to be pleasurable. May 26, 2011 at 16:40
  • I think 'unexpected pleasure' still works. You may not realize that you had such combination of tastes.
    – Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 17:56
  • @Mitch: Yes, I agree it can mean that. But usually it's the other interpretation. The big problem is still the discepancy between question title and text, but I note @The Raven chose to answer the text rather than the title. Probably because that's a much more common concept, so there's more chance of finding single-word answers :-) May 26, 2011 at 18:23

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