\ 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)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Johnson’s indirect jousts with Obama unfolded in the heat of a political campaign over the fate of the U.K.-EU relationship, which ended with a win for Johnson and a divorce from Brussels. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Boris Johnson keeps head down after Biden removes Churchill bust," 21 Jan. 2021 Wrenn said there weren’t many silver linings in 2020, but these moments — and specifically the Dunkin’ incident — were certainly welcome twists of fate. Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "Ben Affleck’s Dunkin’ coffee ‘fumble’ — and other sightings — has been a boon for clothing company Sully’s Brand," 7 Jan. 2021 Then in a cruel twist of fate, that was all interrupted — the extreme sports, as well as the life of service, trying to atone for a tragic accident 25 years ago. Lori Riley, courant.com, "‘This is about the power of love and caring’: Over $40K raised for East Hartford gym teacher battling rare disease amid life of service, atonement," 28 Dec. 2020 Freddie Kitchens admitted that the football gods handed him a little twist of fate by giving him playcalling duties on Sunday night against the Browns. cleveland, "Freddie Kitchens: ‘It’s kind of ironic’ he’s calling plays vs. Browns; says Baker Mayfield ‘is protecting the football’," 18 Dec. 2020 In a sad twist of fate, four of the family’s five siblings have contracted the illness. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Detroit-area sheriff dies of COVID-19 after police chief brother spent months battling virus," 18 Dec. 2020 But after all the unexpected challenges, miracle comebacks and fortunate twists of fate, that house of cards somehow held. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC has one more obstacle to duck against Oregon in Pac-12 title game," 17 Dec. 2020 In a twist of fate, though when Watson got a court order to test that hair, she was given a second hair as well -- and that second hair did have a root. CBS News, "Guilty until Proven Innocent," 9 Dec. 2020 Seems a cruel twist of fate that Daniels could find top-flight starters when the rest of the club was falling apart. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "The Rangers probably got as much as they could from the White Sox for Lance Lynn," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Trump Tempted Fate Long Before Rose Garden Coronavirus Cluster," 4 Oct. 2020 About one-third of the metropolis’s 460 deaths to fate were reported this month alone. Washington Post, "Live updates: White House says emergency payments likely to stop; U.S. tallies 1,400 coronavirus deaths in a day," 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, "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.

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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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Statistics for fate

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fate. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for fate



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

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Comments on fate

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