I often hear とは言え used as a conjunction between sentences. What does it mean?
ALC didn't offer much help.
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It's on ALC. It's listed in hiragana because it's a fossilized conjunction.
Etymologically, this is 'quotative-と' + 'thematic-は' + '已然形 of 言う（言ふ）'. Hence literally "that being said."
It is basically used as "but".
Literally it means something like "it can be said".
Although it can be said that I met her by coincidence, it felt like destiny to me.