fate·​ful | \ˈfāt-fəl \

Definition of fateful 

1 : having a quality of ominous prophecy a fateful remark

2a : involving momentous consequences : decisive made his fateful decision to declare war— W. L. Shirer

b : deadly, catastrophic

3 : controlled by fate : foreordained

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Other Words from fateful

fatefully \ ˈfāt-​fə-​lē \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ezra Callahan: Summer of 2004 is when that fateful series of events took place: that legendary story of Sean running into the Facebook cofounders on the street, having met them a couple months earlier on the East Coast. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebook’s Wild Early Days," 10 July 2018 Among them was a fateful meeting with radio legend Edward R. Murrow, who hired him in 1961 to work for Voice of America. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, "Leo Sarkisian, who brought African music to listeners around the world, dies at 97," 30 June 2018 Since their fateful meeting on December 7, 2012, Dan + Shay have managed to notch four No. Taylor Weatherby, Billboard, "Dan + Shay Discuss How Their Love of Tequila Led to Hanging With Demi Lovato & Their Biggest Hot 100 Hit Yet," 29 June 2018 Other than the fateful third inning, Boyd allowed one hit over five innings, with eight strikeouts. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers implode in 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay Rays: Three takeaways," 10 July 2018 And so on June 9, 2016, Don—along with his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort—began a fateful confab in a conference room in Trump Tower. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 Mystery and suspense tales often begin with a knockout opening - a murder, a chase scene or a fateful knock at the detective's door. Maureen Corrigan, chicagotribune.com, "Forget about 007. This heroine has her own brand of spycraft.," 21 June 2018 The fateful homage-within-a-homage will air this Thursday's on Lip Sync Battle, where Silverstone goes head to head with her American Woman co-star, Mena Suvari. Emily Wang, Glamour, "Alicia Silverstone Just Resurrected Cher Horowitz for Lip Sync Battle," 11 June 2018 Bacca’s shot bounced off the goalkeeper, the fateful miss that would allow England to go on to win. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Underdog Magic of the World Cup," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fateful.' 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 fateful

circa 1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near fateful



fate drama


fate line

fate map

fat farm

Statistics for fateful

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for fateful

The first known use of fateful was circa 1720

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More Definitions for fateful



English Language Learners Definition of fateful

: having important results : producing a serious and usually bad result


fate·​ful | \ˈfāt-fəl \

Kids Definition of fateful

: having serious results a fateful decision

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Comments on fateful

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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