A word that a majority of high schoolers would know. Unless, of course, there is significant evidence that most high-schoolers know the word “serendipity”.

It shows up somewhere between 35,000 and 36,000 most frequent words: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists/PG/2006/04/30001-40000

  • There isn't one. Why would you want it anyway? – Barrie England Oct 31 '12 at 19:36
  • For a marketing slogan. – Evan Oct 31 '12 at 19:42
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    General Reference. Personally, I'd just use serendipity anyway (how are kids going to learn "hard" words if people don't use them?) - but if you want to be patronising, just say luck (I don't need to be told about the difference between "luck" and "serendipity", btw! :) – FumbleFingers Oct 31 '12 at 19:43
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    Though it's not just one word, if you must make a substitution, I like "good fortune." – J.R. Oct 31 '12 at 19:48
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    @Mitch - Does a passive-aggressive approach to conveying learning commend itself? – Russell McMahon Oct 31 '12 at 23:17

Happenstance (“A chance or random event or circumstance”) is another well-known word that might work. Regarding coincidence, the collocation happy coincidence is not uncommon, and might interchange with serendipity.

  • but wait ... high-schoolers don't know "serendipity" (one of the most popular spaceships in fiction!) but they would know 'happenstance'????????? – Fattie Sep 27 '14 at 12:03
  • Wait I've got one! Since these kids don't know their Walpole, what about "jungian synchronicity"? It's not exactly the same but close enough! – Fattie Sep 27 '14 at 12:06

Fluke comes to mind: it means "A stroke of good luck" and implies happenstance.

And of course: coincidence though that does not connote happy or positive.

  • coincidence feels close. The fairly positive connotation of serendipity was definitely the goal, but I've been getting a surprising number of blank stares when the word 'serendipity' comes up. – Evan Oct 31 '12 at 19:44

Serendipity just means luck, albeit in a good way not a bad one.

If “most high-schoolers don’t know serendipity”, well then perhaps they need to spend more time in school; it is, after all, a fairly unremarkable word. As Vlad is wont to say: I assure you, in the small fishing village I come from it forms the sole topic of conversation of grade-schooler and fish monger alike.

  • May I ask who is "Vlad"? – user19148 Oct 31 '12 at 20:33

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