suc·​cess·​ful | \sək-ˈses-fəl \

Definition of successful 

1 : resulting or terminating in success a successful attempt

2 : gaining or having gained success a successful investor

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Other Words from successful

successfully \sək-​ˈses-​fə-​lē \ adverb
successfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for successful


flourishing, going, palmy, prosperous, thriving, triumphant


failed, unsuccessful

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Examples of successful in a Sentence

the play had a successful run on Broadway sold their successful dry-cleaning business and retired to Hawaii

Recent Examples on the Web

All of those attempts have been, in one way or another, successful (though also typically poorly documented). Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 That explains the kingdom’s unprecedented, and successful, move to crush a Shiite uprising in Bahrain in early 2011. Kamran Bokhari, WSJ, "Don’t Let Yemen Become a Proxy of Iran," 16 Nov. 2018 If the city is successful, it could be freed from federal oversight in 15 months. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Fight over Seattle police contract goes to federal court," 3 Nov. 2018 While other companies explored the same business model, Red Hat was by far the most successful, going public in 1999 with a valuation of $3.5 billion. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Why IBM Paid $34 Billion for a Company That Gives Away Software for Free," 29 Oct. 2018 One that has been somewhat successful, for instance, is the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the $20 billion endowment that is an investor in a number of top funds, according to one person familiar with the arrangement. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "On the eve of the Saudi economic summit, we’re about to see just how damaged they are in Silicon Valley," 23 Oct. 2018 MegaGlo has been mega-successful for a number of reasons. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Wet n Wild Just Dropped New MegaGlo Highlighting Bars at Walgreens," 28 Aug. 2018 Kimmel also took a moment to poke fun at ABC, the late-night show's home network, for cancelling Roseanne, which was recognized as the network's most successful show in ratings. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Late-Night Hosts Celebrate and Poke Fun at Nominations," 12 July 2018 Ninety percent of being successful is returning phone calls and emails. Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire, "New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen Is Making Her Hometown the Best Place on Earth for Women," 24 Oct. 2018

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

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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The first known use of successful was in 1594

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English Language Learners Definition of successful

: having the correct or desired result : ending in success

: having gotten or achieved wealth, respect, or fame


suc·​cess·​ful | \sək-ˈses-fəl \

Kids Definition of successful

1 : resulting or ending well or in success My attempt to swim across the harbor was successful.

2 : gaining or having gained success a successful business

Other Words from successful

successfully \-​fə-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on successful

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


to enclose within walls

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