suc·​cess | \ sək-ˈses How to pronounce success (audio) \

Definition of success

1a : degree or measure of succeeding
b : favorable or desired outcome also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
2 : one that succeeds
3 obsolete : outcome, result

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Examples of success in a Sentence

An enormous popular and critical success, The Liars' Club was credited with (or blamed for) launching a new wave of memoir-writing. (Karr deflects this accusation: "I think memoir started with St. Augustine," she told Salon in 1997.) — Mollie Wilson O'Reilly, Commonweal, 23 Oct. 2009 Fred tries to keep up his end of the conversation, but without much success; he has never grown bulbs, cooked veal, seen a film by Fassbinder, etc. He feels provincial and out of it … — Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs, 2006 Since I was interested in finding out about the successes as well as the failures disabled women experience in the world, I interviewed women who had some work experience, although it was often part-time work and sometimes interrupted. — Mary Grimley Mason, Working Against Odds, 2004 The necessaries of life for man in this climate may, accurately enough, be distributed under the several heads of Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel; for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success. — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854 Success came easily to him. She is country music's most recent success. The growth of the tourism industry is one of the city's great successes.
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Recent Examples on the Web The shadowy twin of the striving for success is an almost Greek sense of the capriciousness of fate. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "The Designated Mourner," 7 Jan. 2020 Whensmokeclears is a design house by the Bronx native in 2015 basked on the success of a film production company with the same name. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Whensmokeclears Is A Fashion House Led By Young Creatives," 7 Jan. 2020 Get ahead at work Use the power of nunchi in ways that are both self-serving and for collective success. NBC News, "How to use nunchi, a Korean 'superpower,' to achieve your New Year's resolutions," 6 Jan. 2020 There is hope that the trial and error approach of the Haslams to these hires may finally be zeroing in on the magic formula needed for success. cleveland, "Haslams go headhunting for fifth time as owners of Cleveland Browns: Crowquill," 5 Jan. 2020 This year, Little Women is the best candidate for late-breaking success. David Canfield,, "Can Little Women make an Oscars comeback?," 3 Jan. 2020 Cofounders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis come from two different business worlds with two different résumés, which might be the perfect recipe for success. Rachel King, Fortune, "Startup Year One: Lessons on Hiring New Talent, the Evolving Roles of Founders, and More," 1 Jan. 2020 Missing 14 consecutive field-goal attempts to open a game is hardly a formula for success., "Stanford misses first 14 shots in loss to No. 5 Kansas," 29 Dec. 2019 Instead of leaving families to find all of the resources their children need, a community school framework allows for the partnering of families, schools and organizations to help kids find tools for success. Kelsey Roy, Twin Cities, "United Way of Hastings and school district enter agreement with St. Paul nonprofit," 28 Dec. 2019

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

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for success

Latin successus, from succedere — see succeed

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Time Traveler for success

Time Traveler

The first known use of success was in 1537

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Statistics for success

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Success.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for success


How to pronounce success (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of success

: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame
: the correct or desired result of an attempt
: someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds


suc·​cess | \ sək-ˈses How to pronounce success (audio) \

Kids Definition of success

1 : satisfactory completion of something But you must, when you are calculating the odds of the mouse's success, factor in his love for the princess.— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
2 : the gaining of wealth, respect, or fame
3 : a person or thing that succeeds The show was a success.

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More from Merriam-Webster on success

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for success

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with success

Spanish Central: Translation of success

Nglish: Translation of success for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of success for Arabic Speakers

Comments on success

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to help to grow, develop, or succeed

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