happen (up)on (someone or something)

(redirected from happened upon them)

happen (up)on (someone or something)

To find or encounter someone or something randomly or without planning or intent. I happened on a quaint new craft store the other day. I happened upon your brother yesterday in the grocery store.
See also: happen
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

happen (up)on someone or something

to come upon someone or something, as if by accident. (See also come (up)on someone or something.) I just happened upon a strange little man in the street who offered to sell me a watch. Andrew happened on a book that interested him, so he bought it.
See also: happen, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

happen on

or happen upon
To find or meet someone or something accidentally: She happened on a $10 bill that lay on the sidewalk. The detective happened upon a clue while searching the cabin.
See also: happen, on
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Fruits, berries, and tender plantain found a place upon his menu in the order that he happened upon them, for he did not seek such foods.
Nicola Stuart, head of marketing at Brunning and Price, said: "Lack of love has taken its toll on the buildings which, when we happened upon them, were in total disrepair, with holes in the ceilings and rotten woodwork.
Sheriff Phil Morris said: "I don't believe the shooter just happened upon them. They were obviously targets.
I happened upon them at a Home Depot Expo Center." The vibrant hue makes a decorative accent in an otherwise neutral room.
We happened upon them in a bar six floors up in a building opposite the Sannomiya Station near the centre of the city.