Serendipity and Syzygy: Fortunate Accidents

05.25.2021 - By Science Diction

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How did a country's name end up inside the word, “serendipity"? And what’s a “syzygy"? And, more importantly, why does it have so many y’s?   
Over the past year, several listeners have written to us asking about these two words. Now, we answer—with a little help. Eli Chen and Justine Paradis join us for a round of Diction Dash, where Johanna tries (and usually fails) to guess the correct origin or meaning of a word. 
If you want us to cover a word on the show, get in touch! Give us a call, leave a message, and we might play it on the show. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to [email protected]
Justine Paradis is a reporter and producer for Outside/In from New Hampshire Public Radio. 
Eli Chen is senior editor of Overheard at National Geographic. 
Footnotes & Further Reading: 
More on how a syzygy helped free the Suez ship at the Wall Street Journal
Read The Three Princes of Serendip
Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer and Editor Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt composed all our music. Fact checking by Robin Palmer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.

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