Yesterday morning as I stirred from sleep, a word rose up from the murky depths of my unfathomable mind. It was a word that I do not ever remember using - not even once in my entire life. That word was "happenstance". I liked the sound of it and it buzzed about in my skull like a bluebottle - happenstance, happenstance...
I knew roughly what it meant - something like co-incidence or circumstance. It's not a word you encounter every day. Google led me to a good example of the word in context:-
While some gardens can be grown through happenstance, a water garden is deliberately created by the gardener.
"Happenstance" implies happenings that somehow collide. Some seeds were scattered. A shrub was planted. Creeping ground plants invaded from next door's garden. And together, through happenstance, the garden evolved into what you see today.
It seems that the word was first coined in the USA in the 1850's so it has not been around for very long. It sounds somehow Shakespearean but Shakespeare never used it. He went to his grave 250 years before "happenstance" emerged. Who first gave breath to the word is unknown - perhaps it was a mistake - but it seemed to fill a gap in the language, cleverly combining "happening" with "circumstance" just as "guesstimate" in more recent times has usefully combined "guess" with "estimate".
While particular word usage may decline over time, the graph for "happenstance" has followed a steady, upward trajectory since 1900. However, just as I don't remember ever using the word myself, so I don't recall anyone else using it in my company. That may be pure happenstance or more likely the word mostly rears its head on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you also happen to like the word "happenstance" then this blogpost has been happenstantial.