Fortuitous

“Whereas his brother had amassed his fortune through diligent hard work, Benny’s fortune was purely fortuitous.”

According to the sentence above, what is the best definition of fortuitous?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Bringing fortune and wealth
Choice B - Associated with laziness
Choice C - Happening by lucky chance
Choice D - Pertaining to the weather

Definition:

Fortuitous (adjective) – occurring by lucky chance; or, by accident rather than intention

Fortuitously (adverb) – by chance rather than by design

Fortuitousness (noun) – an unplanned and happy accident

GRE pro tips:

Fortuitous is similar in origin to the words fortunate or fortune, but it differs from these words in some important ways. The word fortunate can describe something that is prosperous by virtue of birth or hard work—in other words, by design. By contrast, the word fortuitous is ONLY used to describe things that happen accidentally, or by chance.

For instance, a well-earned fortune is indeed fortunate but NOT fortuitous because it did not happen by chance. However, winning the lottery or stumbling across a pot of money IS, in fact, fortuitous. Similarly, looking for your friend and finding him in his favorite café is fortunate, but it is not fortuitous, as it would be if you randomly ran into him in Times Square. An event – no matter how fortunate it seems – is only fortuitous when it happens by chance.

Example sentences:

“As he was running from his assailant, an available cab fortuitously appeared.”

“Having not seen each other in many years, imagine their shock when they fortuitously bumped into each other in the middle of Times Square.”