Today I bought an old cloth-bound copy of a commentary on the Gospel of John by Leon Morris for $16. I'm a bit of a book-o-phile and also a little OCD, so normally would be quite keen to have a brand new hard-cover copy of a book if I could, but I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Inside it has a hand-written dedication by Morris himself to someone called "Francis", and when I looked on the first leaf, it has the name of Francis Foulkes (of St John's College, himself a commentator).

What's a word I could use when writing about this find that would capture the awesomeness of it (but not as street as awesomeness!)?

As in: I just made the most ___________ find!

  • 1
    What's wrong with amazing or awesome? Both of which you use in your question, and both of which I would use in that situation. But you might also try incredible. (One-in-a-million? spectacular?) – Jim Nov 24 '15 at 3:23
  • @Jim They are both a bit casual for what I'm after. I really wanted something that's not exactly antiquated, but closer to that than the terms I used. Something with some weight, some gravitas, some ... awesomeness. LOL. – Daniel Stowers Nov 24 '15 at 3:25
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    serendipitous ? – mgb Nov 24 '15 at 3:52
  • @mgb Hey, that is much more what I was after. It really fits in a lot of ways. +1 – Daniel Stowers Nov 24 '15 at 3:53
  • Wondrous? Bonanza? ... Hmm. – Ricky Nov 24 '15 at 4:22

Amazing, exciting, incredible, eye-opening, extraordinary, mind boggling, stupendous, sensational, illuminating, unexpected...

There are probably far more possibilities. Words that I personally prefer include extraordinary, sensational, illuminating and unexpected, but it obviously depends on what idea you're trying to convey.

  • Thanks for those. I was trying to dodge the more pedestrian ones. I phrased the question the way I did above as I wanted to make a pithy but accurate Instagram post. The answer suggested above ("serendipitous") was pretty much the direction I was heading in. The find was great, and the more I looked at it, the better it got - from thinking I had found a cheap copy, to finding it was autographed by the author, so finding it had been owned by another notable person ... it was a chain of (to me) remarkable aspects to the book. – Daniel Stowers Nov 24 '15 at 5:57

The single word that comes to mind after reading your description is 'serendipitous'. I won't suggest that word because it's already been suggested in the comments.

Other words seem less apt, but certainly there are many. It's true, also, that best would be a word fitting the individual occasion, rather than a general, all-purpose word (such as 'serendipitous'). So, considering the nature of your particular find, this word may be best overall:

providential, adj. and n.
A. adj.
1. a. Of, relating to, or ordained by divine providence.

["providential, adj. and n.". OED Online. September 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/153453?redirectedFrom=providential (accessed November 24, 2015).]

In your example, 'providential' works well:

I just made the most providential find!

Other good candidates, depending on what aspect of the find you want to emphasize, include

  • propitious
  • adventitious
  • auspicious

Of those, 'propitious' emphasizes the current circumstances at the time of the find:

  1. presenting favorable conditions; favorable ....

[propitious. (n.d.) Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). Retrieved November 24 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/propitious ]

'Auspicious' looks forward to future circumstances:

Adj. 1. auspicious - auguring favorable circumstances and good luck ....

[auspicious. (n.d.) WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. (2003-2008). Retrieved November 24 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/auspicious .]

A usage note points up the distinction between 'auspicious' and 'propitious':

auspicious, propitious - Auspicious implies success in the future, while propitious means favorable conditions are present; auspicious means promising or of good omen—not just special or memorable.

[propitious. (n.d.) Farlex Trivia Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved November 24 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/propitious .]

Last, 'adventitious' emphasizes the accidental, unexpected nature of your find:

  1. added or appearing accidentally or unexpectedly.

[adventitious. (n.d.) Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged. (1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003). Retrieved November 24 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/adventitious .]


Let me suggest "fortuitous":

I just made the most fortuitous find!


  1. Happening by accident or chance.
  2. Resulting in good fortune; lucky.


This has the added benefit of alliteration and thus sounds more impactful, IMO.

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