- An apparent error or disaster with happy consequences.
“I try to find the felix culpa in every mistake I make, even if just to learn from it.”
“I thought the rain was going to ruin my birthday party, but it ended up being a felix culpa as more people came.”
“It turned out to be a felix culpa and the clients were happy, but it was still a costly error.”
Latin, early 20th century
Why this word?
Translated directly from Latin, “felix culpa” means “happy fault,” but it more loosely means that a mistake has an unintended positive outcome. The term was originally used in the Christian church to refer to Adam’s sin as being ultimately fortunate, but it has since taken on more secular usage. Perhaps it’s a felix culpa that you miss your train, for example, because then you don’t get caught in the stopped elevator at work. Or maybe the evening turns into a felix culpa when you burn dinner, because you end up seeing a friend while picking up pizza.
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