\ 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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 This doesn't look likely to change soon, with millennials enduring reduced social and economic progress and Generation Z now facing a similar fate. Zamira Rahim, CNN, "Why Gen Z will be hit the hardest by the financial fallout from coronavirus," 13 May 2020 Who wouldn’t do everything in their power to avoid such a disappointing fate? Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Can Anyone Be On Listen To Your Heart For The Right Reasons?," 27 Apr. 2020 Parchman isn't immune from a similar fate, Acevedo believes. NBC News, "Fear of coronavirus reaching Mississippi prisons worries advocates," 27 Mar. 2020 The kasmiri aloo befell a similar fate — this potato dish losing any crispy texture it was given in the kitchen and the spices decorating the exterior of each potato slice somehow falling flat. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Indian restaurant in Middletown serves flavorful dishes flecked with vibrant spices," 18 Mar. 2020 Voters seem to have decided on a similar fate for him this time round. The Economist, "Berning out Working-class whites deserted Bernie Sanders in the Midwest," 12 Mar. 2020 Previous companies that deployed low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites went bankrupt, a fate SpaceX is trying to avoid, Musk said. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk: Starlink latency will be good enough for competitive gaming," 10 Mar. 2020 But unlike tragic heroes, who are doomed by their temperament from the start, humans can steer themselves toward a better fate. Nicole Graev Lipson, Washington Post, "How recognizing my child’s ‘tragic flaw’ made me a better parent," 28 Feb. 2020 While most of the human members of the Soul Squad walked through the door to leave the Good Place forever, fan-favorite Tahani chose a different fate: becoming the first human architect. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Jameela Jamil Says 'Good Place' Character Tahani Will Stay There "Forever and Ever"," 6 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Patrios," 16 Sep. 2019 Shiru’s logo is made entirely of circles and represents cultural exchange or connections of students and companies, which also alludes to fate or destiny. Fox News, "Students ‘pay’ for coffee with personal data," 4 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fate

Time Traveler for fate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fate

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fate. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fate


How to pronounce fate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fate

: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future
: the things that will happen to a person or thing : the future that someone or something will have


\ 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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fate

Spanish Central: Translation of fate

Nglish: Translation of fate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fate

Comments on fate

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!