For example, saying "I wish I could pet a dog right now", then a person walking their dog comes around to corner.

Is there a word for this outside the realm of faith aside from calling it a wish coming true?

  • 2
    How would you use the word?
    – Lawrence
    Apr 20 '18 at 16:21
  • 2
    This doesn't exactly fit your question so I wouldn't consider it an answer, but a related idiom is speak of the devil. Apr 20 '18 at 20:56
  • I think it depends. If you change your mind and it happens anyway. Or if what you wish for is so horrific.
    – Sentinel
    Apr 20 '18 at 21:05
  • 2
    If it didn't have to be just a single word, answered prayer.
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 21 '18 at 0:33
  • M.Palsich, you really should edit your question to include more specific details rather than just leaving them as comments to answers. Comments can be removed.
    – barbecue
    Apr 21 '18 at 20:41

11 Answers 11


serendipity could work (or serendipitous as a modifier)

It was serendipity that a dog appeared moments after I thought I'd enjoy giving one a good head-scratch.

serendipity from Oxford online dictionaries.

The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

‘a fortunate stroke of serendipity’

Origin 1754: coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.

  • 1
    @Maiaux I edited to call it a modifier. Certainly 'serendipitous' acts as an adjective - a 'serendipitous discovery' but the standard adverbial formation, 'seredipitously' does not really work - I do not know what it is called when an verb needs to be turned into a noun then modified with an adjective instead of using a standard adverb form ? I'm trying to think of words you could use 'serendipitous' with which were not nouns that meant actions or events.
    – Tom22
    Apr 20 '18 at 20:39
  • Serendipitous is a great word. I like the sound of it over providential, but an event like this is sort of like you wished for it and some divine entity made it so. This conversation came up looking for a word to describe the act of making something so by wishing for it. After some discussion, we've come up with the phrase "to will something". Can you think of anything better?
    – M. Palsich
    Apr 20 '18 at 21:14
  • 1
    @M.Palsich Yes, I hear you .. 'willed it to be' is a different concept. Also, even though this is my word suggestion I'm not sure I would use 'serendipity' as it is too high a level vocabulary word ! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_language I would probably just say 'by some lucky chance' instead of serendipity. For your case "as if we made it happen" is what I would suggest
    – Tom22
    Apr 20 '18 at 21:24
  • 1
    cont. "willed it to be" is idiomatic .. I'm not sure "we willed the dog's appearance" works well. "willed it to be so" is also idiomatic. But I think 'willed' that way is dated and formally structured in a way that might confuse an averagely educated national audience - "We were thinking about petting a dog and then, bang, one appeared, as if our thought made it happen"
    – Tom22
    Apr 20 '18 at 21:29
  • 1
    @M.Palsich - At my age and upbringing, providence is inseparable from the divine, but serendipity still sounds like 'divine intervention' to you? That's what providence is, using two words.
    – Mazura
    Apr 21 '18 at 0:26

You could say that it's fortuitous:

From Merriam-Webster:

  1. occurring by chance
  2. a : fortunate, lucky
    b : coming or happening by a lucky chance

-- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fortuitous

Specifically definition 2b seems to fit here.


If such an action is not deemed to be by chance, luck or coincidence, turning to providential Cambridge and its many interpretations is popular.

occurring at a favorable time; opportune; happening exactly when needed but without being planned

As in:

No way man. that was err ... providential!

  • 3
    Doesn't this come from (Divine) providence? That would mean it's not "outside the realm of faith." Apr 20 '18 at 18:05
  • it is but one sub-definition of providential.
    – lbf
    Apr 20 '18 at 18:08
  • 2
    If the word 'providential' is being used in a current way with a "No way man" in it,then it's great word. "Providential" definitely still has a huge suggestion of "but for the grace of god" in it to me ... I'd definitely hear it as a"oh that guy is a bible thumper" saying it.. but with a "dude" or a 'man' in the same sentence it's more like "awesome" or 'stupendous' used for playful dramatic effect
    – Tom22
    Apr 20 '18 at 19:27
  • I have literally never heard this word used in this fashion; providence, yes, but that’s (even more) explicitly religious. But providential? Sounds like an insurance firm...
    – KRyan
    Apr 21 '18 at 3:28

Synchronicity (Merriam-Webster, definition 2) or Coincidence (Merriam-Webster, definition 2) seem to be suitable words to describe such a situation.


You could say the wish was fulfilled, which means that the wish was achieved or realized.

See, for example, meaning 3 of fulfill (Merriam-Webster) or see similar meanings under fulfil (Oxford online).


I like use of the word "happenstance" for something happening fortuitously. It might imply that the "something" that happened by chance was previously thought about - a portmanteau of happen and circumstance.



You could say that it is a fluke.

Random House:

  1. a stroke of good luck: I got the job by a fluke.

  2. a chance happening; accident.

  3. an accidentally successful stroke, as in billiards.

Usage example:

By some fluke, my son wandered into the office where I had gone to call 911. What a lucky coincidence.


Last answerer doesn't seem to realize that he answered the question perfectly: "fulfillment" (as of a wish). I think that this is the only appropriate word. In German it's "Erfuellung", and more in common useage.


You could further qualify "coincidence" based on the context of your initial wish as a "happy coincidence." Though I prefer "serendipitous" as it doesn't seem to suggest any relationship (tenuous, implicit or explicit) between the wish and the fulfillment of the wish.


It’s known as ‘manifestation’ or ‘manifesting an intention’. It is part of ‘The Law of Attraction’ which was popularised in the book/film The Secret.

It’s a vital and underused skill. It isn’t luck - although you may be lucky- to know how to use it!

The principle is:

  • define what you want
  • feeeeel the feeling of having it already
  • take an action (any) towards having it
  • forget about it and let go

Note: your intention must be in the present ‘I now love myself’ not ‘I need to find out what is wrong with me to have love’. (The latter creates only - process - no results).

Not ‘I want to pet a dog’ (‘wanting’ is not ‘having’) but ‘wow! I looove this feeling of petting a dog! It is the feeeeling that makes it happen. You must feel it. Emotionallly. Because feeling is the language that the Universe understands.

Example. I awoke one morning, thought with enthusiasm ‘it would be great to have a pink scoopy!’ Half an hour later the guy who normally rents me my car showed up and yelled up to my window ‘hey Jeli! I’ve got a new pink scoopy scooter to rent - d’you want it?!

I was like - yeaaahhh!!!

Another time, I was in Oxford St. at Christmas - busy, thirsty- no cafes - I thought I’d looove a really fresh tasty juice’ really feeling the taste in my mouth - and immediately a lovely juice in a bottle was whacked into my hand! Delicious fresh from a promo juice van that I hadnt noticed! Wonderfully fresh cold orange and blackcurrant! Free as well!

Here’s an article about it (look up ‘manifestation’ to see many more):


And here’s my own song, explaining how to do it in ‘The Law of Attraction’, here:



How about a self-fulfilling prophecy? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy

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