noun suc·cess \ sək-ˈses \
Updated on: 9 Mar 2018

Definition of success

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

Examples of success in a Sentence

  1. 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'ReillyCommonweal23 Oct. 2009
  2. 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 LurieForeign Affairs2006
  3. 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 MasonWorking Against Odds2004
  4. 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 ThoreauWalden1854
  5. Success came easily to him.

  6. She is country music's most recent success.

  7. The growth of the tourism industry is one of the city's great successes.

Recent Examples of success from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of success

Latin successus, from succedere — see succeed

SUCCESS Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of success for English Language Learners

  • : 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

SUCCESS Defined for Kids


noun suc·cess \ sək-ˈses \

Definition of success for Students

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.

Headscratcher for success

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. How does that happen? Alphabetical order!

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