The belief that some things just happen. No one is at fault and there is no cause. Kind of like what I’ve heard described as “an act of God” but I don’t care for that phrase. Is there a word for this? Thanks!

  • Do you mean fate or destiny? Try reading about Greek tragedy.
    – Lambie
    Nov 12, 2022 at 17:37
  • 1
    Since you've tagged this as a single word request, you should include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used. Nov 12, 2022 at 17:49
  • 1
    In legal texts, an "act of God" is often used as a hyponym (a sub-category) of force majeure.
    – m.a.a.
    Nov 12, 2022 at 18:37
  • It something is an act of God, how can it "just happen"? Beyond the legal meaning of force majeure.
    – Lambie
    Nov 12, 2022 at 18:50
  • @Lambie I'm afraid that if I board your train of thought, it will take me out of linguistic territory and into philosophy... I'm staying on my platform for now...
    – m.a.a.
    Nov 12, 2022 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


A single word could be chance. Merriam-Webster has

1 a: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause
1 b: the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings
1 c: the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence

For example

I was saved from drowning at sea by a chance encounter with a fishing boat.


Weather Vane has provided a solid suggestion.

Judging from the opening line of you query, though, it might be that you're looking for a word that connotes "the belief that some things just happen", i.e. the belief in chance.

If this is the case, I reckon accidentalism is a nice alternative:

In philosophy, accidentalism denies the causal closure of physical determinism and maintains that events can succeed one another haphazardly or by chance (not in the mathematical but in the popular sense).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.