Here is a list of _______ that occurred in testing.

I am trying to find a concise way to convey that something is an outlier in an unexpectedly good way. I was thinking of using the term "black swan", but recent usage of that (particularly in the finance industry) leaves me the impression that black swans are bad things (even though I understand that isn't necessarily the origin of the phrase). A neutral word would be "outlier", but I'd also like to convey that it is a positive thing (and "positive outlier" isn't doing it for me).

4 Answers 4


Here is a list of gems that occurred in testing.

From Cambridge:

If you say that something or someone is a gem, you mean that you value the quality or beauty of that person or thing highly:

The building was an architectural gem.

  • This is pretty good. I worry that the idea of preciousness or value would overwhelm the idea of rarity, especially when applied to a thing or situation. For instance, conversational gems need not be rare. Feb 7, 2019 at 19:14
  • @TaliesinMerlin If they're not rare, then are they really gems, and not just work-a-day, run-of-the-mill occurrences?
    – Davo
    Feb 7, 2019 at 20:26
  • Yes. To quote the definition above, "you value the quality or beauty of that person or thing highly." The focus is on value, which is only sometimes rare. Consider the rarity of school gyms: "...the Bulldogs had cut their deficit to 27-23 with 90 seconds left before halftime in the Knights’ gem of a small-school gym." Or of a group cranking out "gem after gem." Feb 7, 2019 at 21:04

Here is a list of serendipitous events that occurred in testing

From Dictionary.com:

come upon or found by accident; fortuitous: "serendipitous scientific discoveries."


Here is a list of bright spots that occurred in testing.

It idiomatically emphasizes the contrast between the broadly bad background results and the few successes.

Highlights doesn't quite work absent other context, because it also means the more neutral "things of note". You could use it in a parallel construction with lowlights, which usually means "failures of note."


Here is a list of the windfalls that occurred in testing.

    1. A sudden, unexpected piece of good fortune or financial gain.

First used in the fifteenth century, windfall originally referred to fruit that the wind blew from the trees. No need for the ladder! The word eventually came to mean any unexpected and easily-gained good fortune.

  • As someone who has worked an orchard before, windfalls were quite common. Rather like gems, I wonder if it's only the perception of value (in windfall's more recent financial sense) that provides an accompanying perception of rarity. Feb 7, 2019 at 21:07

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