\ ˈfāt How to pronounce fate (audio) \

Definition of fate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny fate sometimes deals a straight flush … he had no idea that he would become the right man in the right place at the right time …— June Goodfield
2a : an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end Her fate was to remain in exile.
b : disaster especially : death The villain met his fate at the hands of the hero.
3a : final outcome Congress decided the bill's fate by a single vote.
b : the expected result of normal development prospective fate of embryonic cells
c : the circumstances that befall someone or something did not know the fate of her former classmates
4 Fates plural : the three goddesses, Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis, who determine the course of human life in classical mythology


\ ˈfāt How to pronounce fate (audio) \
fated; fating

Definition of fate (Entry 2 of 2)

Choose the Right Synonym for fate


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 fate in a Sentence

Noun … the fate of our species is bound up with those of countless others, with which we share a habitat that we cannot long dominate … — John Gray, Times Literary Supplement, 11 Sept. 1992 So what went wrong? I ask Syd again, glancing ahead to the inevitable end. What quirk of fate, this time round, Syd, checked the great man's stride? — John le Carré, A Perfect Spy, 1986 Often there is a specified character on whom a work hinges and whose fate we follow, a Raskolnikov or a Hamlet … — Robert Penn Warren, Democracy and Poetry, 1975 The money goes down one-two-three on the table, fives and tens and twenties, and the wheel begins to spin. Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows. It's up to fate. Kismet, as they say. — Mordecai Richler, The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz, 1959 They thought they would never see each other again, but fate brought them back together. a surprising turn of fate One company went bankrupt, and a similar fate befell the other. Her fate was sealed by the marriage arrangement made in her youth. Verb Given what was going on when the magazine was started, Utne Reader seems fated to have happened—it was simply an idea that fit the times. — Eric Utne, Utne Reader, March/April 1994 It was during this interregnum between the acquisition of regional power and the actual use of it that Henderson was fated to enter the picture. — Robert D. Kaplan, The Arabists, 1993 Who are my viewing companions at this hour? Dazed and confused, we are isolated in sunken couches, empty beds and cheap hotel rooms across this crumbling nation, one through MTV but fated never to meet. — Hugh Gallagher, Rolling Stone, 29 Apr. 1993 the warning that the lack of an advanced education will fate a person to a lifetime of below-average earnings See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The next four weeks are going to be a crucial sprint that could determine the fate of a new insulin pricing proposal championed by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), my colleague Rachel Cohrs reports. Nicholas Florko, STAT, 4 May 2022 The future of desalination in California could hinge on the fate of the Huntington Beach project. Michael Smolenscolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 May 2022 Moreover, park officials maintain that humans are already tinkering with the fate of the wilderness. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Apr. 2022 Then came the virus, which set off a sudden drop in passengers amid lockdowns and closures, starved transit agencies of revenue and raised questions about the fate of some systems. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 The filings add to an already lengthy process to determine the fate of the obelisk that was built to honor racist Civil War-era Gov. Zebulon Vance. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 Two variables likely primarily determine the fate of longer-term rates, inflation and the strength of the economy. Bill Stone, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 The case could determine the fate of affirmative action policies nationwide. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 17 Mar. 2022 Spring football won’t determine Harsin’s fate, however, the groundwork begins this week at the facility. Nubyjas Wilborn | Nwilborn@al.com, al, 15 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The effort was too much and the young animal succumbed to fate, sliding down the snow into the abyss. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Mar. 2022 Donald Trump cut a deal with the Taliban that left the future of the Afghan government, Afghan women, and al‑Qaeda to fate. George Packer, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2022 Well, that’s a little bit up to them, a little bit up to fate. Hayden Grove, cleveland, 7 Sep. 2021 Kyland volunteers, the Aces leave their nomination to fate, and Christian is down to compete knowing that Frenchie is probably targeting him. Kyle Fowle, EW.com, 12 July 2021 To be a baker, Lidgus explains, is to be half control freak, half submissive to fate; to embrace a life of eternal adjustments. New York Times, 26 Mar. 2021 Trump, in a statement from Walter Reed hospital on Saturday, chalked up his diagnosis to fate and his desire to be seen leading the country. Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg.com, 4 Oct. 2020 About one-third of the metropolis’s 460 deaths to fate were reported this month alone. Washington Post, 30 July 2020 Having deliberately committed to another country, as opposed to lazily acquiescing to fate like the native-born, many recent immigrants are especially passionate about their new home and less likely to take its benefits for granted. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, 16 Sep. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of fate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fate

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin fatum, literally, what has been spoken, from neuter of fatus, past participle of fari to speak — more at ban entry 1

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Time Traveler for fate

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near fate

fat dormouse



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Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fate. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fate


\ ˈfāt How to pronounce fate (audio) \

Kids Definition of fate

1 : a power beyond human control that is believed to determine what happens : destiny It was fate that brought them together.
2 : something that happens as though determined by fate : fortune She stood … watching the sad fate of her comrades …— L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
3 : final outcome Voters will decide the fate of the election.


\ ˈfāt How to pronounce fate (audio) \

Medical Definition of fate

: the expected result of normal development prospective fate of embryonic cells

More from Merriam-Webster on fate

Nglish: Translation of fate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fate


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