A mishap is “an unlucky accident”, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, and is often accompanied by the word minor – e.g. we had a few minor mishaps in the kitchen, but at least we didn’t burn the chicken.
I happened upon the word mishap today and it got me wondering whether the word hap also exists. It does, though it rarely used these days, as far as I can tell.
– luck, fortune
– a chance occurrence, especially an event that is considered unlucky
– to come about by chance
– to have the fortune or luck to do something.
So it’s a contronym or auto-antonym in that it can mean good luck and the opposite, bad luck.
Here are some examples:
– If you have the good hap to come into their houses
– I entertained the Company with the many Haps and Disasters
– What can hap to him worthy to be deemed evil?
– Where’er I happ’d to roam
Source: Oxford Dictionaries
Hap, mishap, and happen and happy, all come from the Old Norse word happ (chance, good luck), from the Proto-Germanic *hap-/*hampą (convenience, happiness), from the Proto-Indo-European *kob- (to suit, fit, succeed), which is also the root of the Old Irish cob (victory) and the Russian кобь [kob’] (fate).