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Fate vs. Coincidence: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 23, 2023
Fate is a predetermined course of events often viewed as beyond human control, while coincidence is a random, unexpected occurrence of two or more events at the same time.

Key Differences

Fate is often understood as a predetermined, unavoidable course of events, possibly determined by a divine or natural order. Coincidence, in contrast, refers to the chance occurrence of two or more events at the same time, without any apparent causal connection.
The concept of fate is rooted in philosophical, religious, and cultural beliefs, suggesting a predestined plan or purpose. However, coincidence is perceived as a random, unplanned alignment of events, often surprising due to its unexpected nature.
Fate implies a lack of control over the events that happen, often seen as destined or predetermined. While, coincidence does not carry this sense of destiny; it is seen as a random occurrence that is not influenced by prior action or intent.
Events attributed to fate are often seen as having greater meaning or purpose in the grand scheme of life. Meanwhile, coincidences are typically viewed as curious or interesting anomalies, but without deeper significance or intended purpose.
Fate suggests a causal relationship as part of a grand design or cosmic plan, whereas coincidence is understood as a chance occurrence without causal linkage.

Comparison Chart


Predetermined course of events
Random, unplanned simultaneous occurrence

Belief System

Often linked to destiny or divine plan
Seen as a product of chance or randomness


Implies no control, events are predestined
Implies randomness, without influence or control


Seen as having deeper meaning or purpose
Generally regarded as interesting but without deeper meaning


Suggests a cosmic or destined causality
Lacks causal connection, seen as accidental

Fate and Coincidence Definitions


An inevitable destiny, often beyond human control.
They believed it was fate that brought them together.


A remarkable concurrence of events without apparent causal connection.
Running into my childhood friend in a foreign country was a strange coincidence.


A predetermined course of life or events.
It was her fate to become a great musician.


Two or more events happening at the same time by chance.
It was a coincidence that they both wore the same dress to the party.


The outcome of a person's life as predestined.
She accepted her challenging journey as her fate.


An instance of events occurring at the same time seemingly by chance.
Our meeting at the cafe was purely a coincidence.


A force that predetermines events.
The ancient Greeks believed in fate as a powerful force in their lives.


An accidental sequence of events that seem related.
The coincidence of our thoughts on the subject was uncanny.


The development of events outside a person's control.
His rise to fame was seen as an act of fate.


A surprising alignment of circumstances without deliberate planning.
The coincidence of both companies releasing similar products simultaneously was unexpected.


The supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events
Fate did not favor his career.


The state or fact of occupying the same relative position or area in space.


The inevitable events predestined by this force
It was her fate to marry a lout.


A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.


A final result or consequence; an outcome
What was the fate of your project?.


Of objects, the property of being coincident; occurring at the same time or place.


What is fate?

Fate is the belief in a predetermined, unavoidable course of events.

How is coincidence defined?

Coincidence is a random or chance occurrence of two or more events at the same time.

Is coincidence always accidental?

Yes, coincidence is typically considered accidental and unplanned.

Can coincidences have meaningful outcomes?

While coincidences can lead to meaningful outcomes, they are seen as random rather than predestined.

How common are coincidences?

Coincidences can be quite common, especially in a world of interconnected events and people.

Can fate be changed?

Traditionally, fate is viewed as fixed and unchangeable.

Is fate a universal belief?

Beliefs in fate vary widely across different cultures and individuals.

Are coincidences always surprising?

Coincidences are often surprising due to their unexpected nature.

Does fate play a role in love and relationships?

Some cultures and individuals believe fate plays a significant role in forming relationships.

Does fate imply a higher power?

Often, fate is associated with the idea of a higher power or destiny.

Are all life events considered fate?

Not necessarily; the interpretation of events as fate depends on personal or cultural beliefs.

Can science explain coincidences?

Science often attributes coincidences to probability and statistical chances.

Do coincidences require an explanation?

Coincidences do not necessarily require an explanation, as they are often seen as random.

Can fate be a source of comfort?

For some, the belief in fate can provide comfort and a sense of order in life.

How does fate differ from destiny?

Fate and destiny are similar, but destiny can imply a more positive or chosen path.

Is believing in fate the same as fatalism?

Not exactly; fatalism is a more passive acceptance of all events as predetermined, while fate can be more nuanced.

Can coincidences be statistically analyzed?

Yes, coincidences can be analyzed using probability and statistical methods.

Can a coincidence lead to a significant life change?

Yes, a coincidence can sometimes lead to significant changes or decisions, though it is by chance.

Are all coincidences meaningless?

Not necessarily; some people find personal or subjective meaning in coincidences.

Does fate determine success or failure?

Some belief systems hold that fate plays a role in one's success or failure.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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