Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

success

play
noun suc·cess \sək-ˈses\

Simple Definition of success

  • : the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • : the correct or desired result of an attempt

  • : someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of success

  1. 1 obsolete :  outcome, result

  2. 2a :  degree or measure of succeedingb :  favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

  3. 3 :  one that succeeds

Examples of success in a sentence

  1. An enormous popular and critical success, The Liars' Club was credited with (or blamed for) launching a new wave of memoir-writing. (Karr deflects this accusation: “I think memoir started with St. Augustine,” she told Salon in 1997.) —Mollie Wilson O'Reilly, Commonweal, 23 Oct. 2009

  2. Fred tries to keep up his end of the conversation, but without much success; he has never grown bulbs, cooked veal, seen a film by Fassbinder, etc. He feels provincial and out of it … —Alison Lurie,Foreign Affairs, 2006

  3. Since I was interested in finding out about the successes as well as the failures disabled women experience in the world, I interviewed women who had some work experience, although it was often part-time work and sometimes interrupted. —Mary Grimley Mason, Working Against Odds, 2004

  4. The necessaries of life for man in this climate may, accurately enough, be distributed under the several heads of Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel; for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success. —Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

  5. Success came easily to him.

  6. She is country music's most recent success.

  7. The growth of the tourism industry is one of the city's great successes.



Origin and Etymology of success

Latin successus, from succedere (see succeed)


First Known Use: 1537



SUCCESS Defined for Kids

success

play
noun suc·cess \sək-ˈses\

Definition of success for Students

  1. 1 :  satisfactory completion of something <But you must, when you are calculating the odds of the mouse's success, factor in his love for the princess. — Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux>

  2. 2 :  the gaining of wealth, respect, or fame

  3. 3 :  a person or thing that succeeds <The show was a success.>



Headscratcher for success

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. How does that happen? Alphabetical order!



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up success? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

mysterious, holy, or spiritual

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

megillah rebellion interruption torrent
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ