FORTU'ITOUS, a. [L. fortuitus, from the root of fors, forte, fortuna. The primary sense is to come, to fall, to happen. See Fare.] Accidental; casual; happening by chance; coming or occurring unexpectedly, or without any known cause. We speak of fortuitous events, when they occur without our foreseeing or expecting them, and of a fortuitous concourse of atoms, when we suppose the concourse not to result from the design and power of a controlling agent. But an event cannot be in fact fortuitous. [See Accidental and Casual.]
adj 1: having no cause or apparent cause; "a causeless miracle"; "fortuitous encounters--strange accidents of fortune"; "we cannot regard artistic invention as...uncaused and unrelated to the times" [syn: causeless, fortuitous, uncaused] 2: occurring by happy chance; "profits were enhanced by a fortuitous drop in the cost of raw materials"
adjectiveEtymology: Latin fortuitus; akin to Latin fort-, fors chance — more at fortuneDate: 1653 1. occurring by chance 2.a.fortunate, lucky<from a cost standpoint, the company's timing is fortuitous — Business Week> b. coming or happening by a lucky chance <belted down the stairs, and there was a fortuitous train — Doris Lessing> Synonyms:seeaccidental • fortuitouslyadverb • fortuitousnessnoun Usage: Sense 2a has been influenced in meaning by fortunate. It has been in standard if not elevated use for some 70 years, but is still disdained by some critics. Sense 2b, a blend of 1 and 2a, is virtually unnoticed by the critics. Sense 1 is the only sense commonly used in negative constructions.
Fortuitous For*tu"i*tous, a. [L. fortuitus; akin to forte, adv., by chance, prop. abl. of fors, fortis, chance. See Fortune.] 1. Happening by chance; coming or occuring unexpectedly, or without any known cause; chance; as, the fortuitous concourse of atoms. It was from causes seemingly fortuitous . . . that all the mighty effects of the Reformation flowed. --Robertson. So as to throw a glancing and fortuitous light upon the whole. --Hazlitt. 2. (LAw) Happening independently of human will or means of foresight; resulting from unavoidable physical causes. --Abbott. Syn: Accidental; casual; contingent; incidental. See Accidental. -- For*tu"i*tous*ly, adv. -- For*tu"i*tous*ness, n.