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Sometimes I find an outsider in a conversation with little or no knowledge about the subject or ground already covered in the conversation makes a random guess about a question no one can answer and it turns out to be correct. I have experienced this often enough that it seems like there might be a word or phrase for it, but if there is I don't remember it. Any insight would be appreciated!

Example:

Wow, Bert only said that it might be catalytic converter because he heard us say that term earlier in the conversation. He doesn't know anything about cars. I can't believe he was actually right! That was a real ________!

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    "Lucky guess." I don't think there's a single word for it. – Evan May 25 '17 at 0:24
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    fluke – Rahul May 25 '17 at 1:53
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    'FLUKE' suggested by Rahul is a very good option for this case. – English Student May 26 '17 at 13:17
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    On Car Talk, they call it "unencumbered by the thought process." – aparente001 Jun 5 '17 at 5:32
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    "Even a blind chicken finds a kernel of corn now and then" but I can't back it up with any references that aren't to a music album or what seems to me to be low grade references. Blind squirrels and nuts are supposedly used in the American South in a similar way. – Bent Oct 7 '18 at 18:24
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fluke

NOUN

An unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck.
‘their victory was a bit of a fluke’

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Wild guess is a perfectly fine phrase, but if you don't like that one, I'd suggest a shot in the dark:

A shot (or stab) in the dark

PHRASE

An act whose outcome cannot be foreseen; a guess.
‘their experiments were little more than shots in the dark’

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    This doesn't capture the "turns out to be correct" part, which is critical to the question being asked. – John Y May 25 '17 at 16:09
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    @JohnY, maybe a lucky shot/stab in the dark in this case then. – dangph May 26 '17 at 6:30
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You might say,

He really caught lightning in a bottle that time!

The idiom catch lightning in a bottle refers to succeeding at an extremely difficult task—usually through a single stroke of great luck or through a remarkable series of individually minor instances of good luck.

The expression alludes to the Benjamin Franklin kite experiment, but it seems to have first became idiomatic in U.S. baseball, in reference to a team or player that, against all expectations, plays at a very high level. The downside of the expression is the implication that the player or team is likely to revert to the mean (that is, to mediocrity) when the stroke or run of good luck ends.

  • I disagree. This is the precise opposite of a fluke. – Fattie Oct 7 '18 at 14:52
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"Lucky guess."

An apparently unreasoned guess that turns out to be correct may be called a happy guess, or a lucky guess, and it has been argued that "a 'lucky guess' is a paradigm case of a belief that does not count as knowledge".

Emphasis mine.

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Beginner's luck is an appropriate idiom here -- colloquially, it refers to the success a novice may have, even though it is clearly not due to skill or knowledge.

A more strict/scientific discussion of beginner's luck is here, and I'd say it's used the most colloquially referring to things like games, but I can't imagine that your meaning wouldn't be taken as it's common in casual conversation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beginner%27s_luck

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It's just dumb luck! This refers to the "wild, uneducated, random" part of your question.

dumb luck 1. pure chance.

Definition of dumb luck

Dumb luck is when a long shot hits the bull's eye!

long shot (noun) an attempt or guess that has only the slightest chance of succeeding or being accurate.

Definition of long shot

hit the bull's-eye [Also, hit the mark or hit the nail on the head] Be absolutely right

Definition of hit the bull's eye

  • If you click on the tiny question mark on the editor toolbox, and then advanced help it explains how to embed links. – Mari-Lou A May 28 '17 at 9:22
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    @Mari-Lou A thanks for the tip and for pointing out the 2 answers -- there is some asynchronicity with my browser but I have deleted the incomplete answer which was posted by error – English Student May 28 '17 at 9:25
  • bravo! you did it, – Mari-Lou A May 28 '17 at 10:03
  • @Mari-Lou A it took a bit of figuring out because I have no experience with that sort of thing, but seeing those nice embedded links, it's so worth it! – English Student May 28 '17 at 10:09
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I'd say that was just fortuitous.

fortuitous -lucky; fortunate:

Or It was more by luck than judgement.

more by luck than judgment- by chance and not because of any special skill:

or It could have been providential

providential - opportune, fortunate, or lucky.

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While not usually used for guessing, the phrase "Hail Mary" would be understood. In football, a Hail Mary pass is one made at extreme range with no obvious guarantee that it will be caught. The image is of the quarterback making a desperate prayer before throwing the ball.

  • Perhaps the prayer is not desperate, the situation is. – AmE speaker Jun 2 '17 at 13:29

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