When a sequence of positive events occur we use the term miraculously. What about the opposite, when a sequence of bad luck events occur, how can we characterize it?

Here is the story of a flight which, despite many odd errors, had a miraculous landing (or a very skilled crew). How can we refer to the string of breakdown of all checks and balances in the pre-flight stage? (Somebody under-fueled the jetliner, various equipment did not work properly and the jet took off with much less fuel than needed for the flight.)


What I learned are, depending the context and connotation,

for comic effect the recommendation is Murphy's Law or Sod's law

for secular effect use perfect storm, * a cascade of failures*

for other-worldly effect use fatefully

  • 2
    A perfect storm would fit: a detrimental or calamitous situation or event arising from the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances Sep 10, 2016 at 17:51
  • 1
    As Terry Pratchett put it in Interesting Times, “Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.” Sep 10, 2016 at 17:59
  • I would call the breakdown of all checks and balances a system failure. Has nothing to do with miracles or their opposite. Sep 10, 2016 at 18:23
  • It's usually called Sod's Law. There's also resistentialism, if you want to take a philosophic approach to it.
    – Phil Sweet
    Sep 11, 2016 at 4:59
  • 1
    Instead of a miracle that’s called a disaster and so: disastrously...
    – Jim
    Sep 11, 2016 at 5:49

3 Answers 3


You should consider fatefully.


fateful adjective

1 : having a quality of ominous prophecy :a fateful remark

2 a : involving momentous consequences : decisive

made his fateful decision to declare war — W. L. Shirer

b : deadly, catastrophic

3 : controlled by fate : foreordained

fatefully adverb


Mundanely is the answer to the question.

If an event is miraculous it is sponsored by a deity (7 to 5 and you pick it).

If simply happens at the hand of man (or woman) then it is mundane, no?

  • There is no antonym of 'miraculously', nor anything like one. If 'mundanely' doesn't fit the bill, might 'diabolically' serve? Sep 26, 2016 at 0:14
  • Language is neither fixed nor immutable. If we have reached the point where miracles are no longer common currency, then an antonym is long over due
    – Dave
    Sep 29, 2016 at 16:21

Great suggestions in the comments.

Since I enjoy being creative I will coin a phrase for your situation.

A cascade of failures


Cascading failures

This gives me the idea of one failure after another, on and on.

(Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.)

But you asked for an antonym of "miraculously". If you want one word, which is an adverb, I can come close, with a single word adjective.


In a mind-boggling sequence of unfortunate events....

Note the similarity to the children's books by Daniel Handler.

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