What’s the meaning?
Deliberately, though apparently accidentally.
What’s the origin?
Used in the United Kingdom since about 1880, in the United States since about 1885.
And what about other languages?
In French, there are three main expressions:
- “accidentellement fait exprès”: the same meaning as the english idiom.
- “comme par hasard”: “by chance”, but the chance looks weird.
- “le hasard fait bien les choses”: more or less “chance can do good things”.