"fate, destiny," 1834, from Turkish qismet, from Arabic qismah, qismat "portion, lot, fate," from root of qasama "he divided."
From a nation of enthusiasts and conquerors, the Osmanlis became a nation of sleepers and smokers. They came into Europe with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other: were they driven out of their encampment, it would be with the Koran in one hand and the pipe in the other, crying: 'Kismet! Kismet! Allah kehrim!' (God hath willed it! God is great!) [Dr. James O. Noyes, "The Ottoman Empire," "The Knickerbocker," October 1858]
Popularized as the title of a novel in 1877.
updated on September 25, 2018