What's the antonym of "serendipitous"? I couldn't find any anywhere.

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    ...Unfortunate? – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Aug 30 '12 at 19:24
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    First, look for the synonyms of "serendipitous", then for antonyms of the results. – Mark Beadles Aug 30 '12 at 19:25
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    Weird, thesaurus.com/browse/serendipitous?s=t lists all manner of antonyms (which apply to the other definition of "beneficial, favorable", as well). – Zairja Aug 30 '12 at 19:26
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    It depends on which part of the term you want to oppose - the accidental or the beneficial aspects. – bib Aug 30 '12 at 19:43
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    Spot on, bib. 'Serendipitous' is a word whose meaning involves both the aspects you mention, and as this is, off the top of my head, quite unusual, excepting compound words, it is unlikely that a word carrying both opposite aspects exists. This property is not polysemy, where one word is used with different but related senses in different contexts - it is a word carrying different aspects in a single context. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '12 at 22:01

"Unlucky" is almost an antonym, although serendipitous is more specific than just "lucky" and refers to finding good things by accident. "Ill-fated," "luckless" or "star-crossed" might work.

  • Did you mean antonym instead of acronym? – Robusto Aug 30 '12 at 19:36
  • What does "star-crossed" mean? – qazwsx Aug 30 '12 at 20:22
  • Cursed, fated for bad things. Like Romeo and Juliet being described as "star-crossed lovers" – Kelly Tessena Keck Aug 30 '12 at 20:28
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    "Star-crossed" doesn't mean fated for bad things in that context; it simply means blocked or thwarted by bad luck. – Robusto Aug 30 '12 at 21:46
  • @Robusto: I don't see a distinction there. Obviously star-crossed comes from the astrological reference (as in born under a bad sign, etc.), so "fated for bad things" seems a perfectly accurate paraphrasing to me. – FumbleFingers Aug 31 '12 at 0:30

Wikipedia offers "zemblanity" as an antonym: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serendipity

Makes sense, but it doesn't roll as pleasantly off the tongue as "serendipity" does; then again, it's not nearly as pleasant an experience.

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    Your answer is slightly misleading, almost suggesting that the term is recognized. It isn't, not yet in any case. Please edit your post and include the relevant citation: "William Boyd coined the term zemblanity to mean somewhat the opposite of serendipity: "making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries occurring by design" – Mari-Lou A Nov 3 '14 at 16:35

Serendipitous doesn't have a "proper" antonym is because a word that was invented/created in 1754 (per wikipedia - credit to user96494). It was coined by Horace Walpole in a letter. , so it has no etymology and therefor no real antonym. This is also why it is so hard to translate into other languages.

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