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How do you say "歪打正着“ in English?

I brought a gift to someone's place for appreciation of his help, but he wasn't there. Several days later, I went there with the gift again, and he was there, and that day happened to be his birthday. So the gift happened to be also for his birthday celebration

So in Chinese, it is kind of "歪打正着“. How would you say it in English for such an example?

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I would call this situation a "happy accident" –  Stumpy Joe Pete Oct 16 '13 at 23:24
    
After seeing this question, I asked a similar question on ELU.SE; hope it helps –  congusbongus Oct 24 '13 at 21:53
    
by a stroke of luck –  杨以轩 Oct 25 '13 at 3:52

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could also call that... serendipitous!

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I think "Hit by a fluke" conveys that meaning.

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hit the mark by a fluke; score a lucky hit

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"歪打正着" according to its meaning——It means "something done for purpose A but in fact it makes purpose B successful". So can just translate it as:

do something luckily, by chance, by accident

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1. 比喻方法本来不恰当,却侥幸得到满意的结果。

2. 也比喻原意本不在此,却凑巧和别人的想法符合。

1. do A with a wrong way. But..luckily.. succeeded.

2. wanto do A, but hasn't start to do it. But luckily made it by do another thing.

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You could consider an auspicious kind of irony, as in situational irony. For example:

When John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, all of his shots initially missed the President; however, a bullet ricocheted off the bullet-proof Presidential limousine and struck Reagan in the chest. Thus, a vehicle made to protect the President from gunfire instead directed gunfire to the president.

Note however that "irony" only requires the intent and outcome to be highly incongruous, and the outcome can be either good or bad.

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