fateful

adjective

fate·​ful ˈfāt-fəl How to pronounce fateful (audio)
1
: having a quality of ominous prophecy
a fateful remark
2
a
: involving momentous consequences : decisive
made his fateful decision to declare warW. L. Shirer
3
: controlled by fate : foreordained
fatefully adverb
fatefulness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for fateful

ominous, portentous, fateful mean having a menacing or threatening aspect.

ominous implies having a menacing, alarming character foreshadowing evil or disaster.

ominous rumblings from the volcano

portentous suggests being frighteningly big or impressive but now seldom definitely connotes forewarning of calamity.

an eerie and portentous stillness

fateful suggests being of momentous or decisive importance.

the fateful conference that led to war

Examples of fateful in a Sentence

His life changed on that fateful November evening. Hundreds perished on that fateful day. Her campaign took a fateful turn.
Recent Examples on the Web Putin likes to rationalize his fateful choices by looking to historical analogies. Alexander Gabuev, Foreign Affairs, 9 Apr. 2024 Miami shot just 6 for 22 and committed five turnovers in that fateful fourth. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 5 Apr. 2024 Now, using advanced forensic technologies, military officials have confirmed that Walker was among the 103 USS California crew members killed on that fateful day. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Apr. 2024 Since that fateful encounter, Daniels has serenaded a galaxy of stars, some more amused than others. Alex Kessler, Vogue, 1 Apr. 2024 Her fateful mammogram was the Friday before Labor Day. Marc Silver, NPR, 30 Mar. 2024 Unfortunately for her, that fateful plea was the equivalent of trying to avoid sand in the Serengeti. Rob Ledonne, Condé Nast Traveler, 29 Mar. 2024 Unbeknownst to all present that fateful day, a musical fire was sparked that continues to burn bright and remain vastly influential to generation after generation of bluegrass players and listeners. Garret K. Woodward, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024 But the Dali's fateful voyage had begun 50 minutes earlier. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fateful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fateful was circa 1720

Dictionary Entries Near fateful

Cite this Entry

“Fateful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fateful. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

fateful

adjective
fate·​ful ˈfāt-fəl How to pronounce fateful (audio)
1
: foretelling usually bad things to come
a fateful remark
2
: having serious results : important
a fateful decision
fatefully adverb
fatefulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fateful

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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