des·​ti·​ny | \ˈdes-tə-nē \
plural destinies

Definition of destiny 

1 : something to which a person or thing is destined : fortune wants to control his own destiny

2 : a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency felt that destiny would determine their future

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for destiny

fate, destiny, lot, portion, doom mean a predetermined state or end. fate implies an inevitable and usually an adverse outcome. the fate of the submarine is unknown destiny implies something foreordained and often suggests a great or noble course or end. the country's destiny to be a model of liberty to the world lot and portion imply a distribution by fate or destiny, lot suggesting blind chance it was her lot to die childless , portion implying the apportioning of good and evil. remorse was his daily portion doom distinctly implies a grim or calamitous fate. if the rebellion fails, his doom is certain

Examples of destiny in a Sentence

They believed it was their destiny to be together. motivated by a sense of destiny

Recent Examples on the Web

With a defeat and a victory, the Germans were left improbably in control of their own destiny at this World Cup. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "World Cup Curse Hits Defending Champion Germany," 27 June 2018 But our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security., "Read Trump’s full remarks on immigration, ‘Space Force’," 18 June 2018 Koreans have rarely held the levers of their own destiny. Time, "'Our Hands Are Already Full.' For Young South Koreans, the Inter-Korea Summit Is Just Another Thing to Worry About," 25 Apr. 2018 One thing the entire FC Cincinnati brain trust has made explicitly clear is that the current players are in control of their own MLS destinies. Scott Winfield,, "ICYMI: Cincinnati Reds lock up their future, FC Cincinnati has a list of to-dos before MLS," 6 July 2018 The same is true for burger grind—in order for a shop, especially a whole animal shop, to function, the tougher cuts with more connective tissue that don’t fare well as a steak have to fulfill their destiny as burger meat. Cara Nicoletti, GQ, "Why You Shouldn't Bother with Fancy Burger Mixes," 3 July 2018 Attempting suicide was an expression of control over my own destiny. CBS News, ""It's okay to not be okay": Suicide attempt survivors offer insight and advice," 26 June 2018 However, he was born into a real estate family and real estate seemed to be a natural transition and his destiny. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor of the Week: Terrell Hillebrand’s experience benefits clients," 24 June 2018 Ultimately Canadians understand their economic destiny is tied to the U.S. in ways that make their country the likely loser in any protracted conflict. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Insults Are Bringing Out Canada’s Inner Fiery Nationalism," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'destiny.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of destiny

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for destiny

Middle English destinee, from Anglo-French, from feminine of destiné, past participle of destiner — see destine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about destiny

Statistics for destiny

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for destiny

The first known use of destiny was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for destiny



English Language Learners Definition of destiny

: what happens in the future : the things that someone or something will experience in the future

: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future


des·​ti·​ny | \ˈde-stə-nē \
plural destinies

Kids Definition of destiny

1 : what happens to someone or something in the future You can decide your own destiny.

2 : the course of events believed to be controlled by a superhuman power

3 : a power that is believed to control the future

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on destiny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for destiny

Spanish Central: Translation of destiny

Nglish: Translation of destiny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of destiny for Arabic Speakers

Comments on destiny

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!