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

Newsflash, successful woman shockingly DOES NOT CARE what her ex-boyfriend is up to now. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Hailey Baldwin Used to Declare Her Love for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's Relationship," 11 July 2018 The system O’Connor puts in place will determine how successful the 2018 Lions will be. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City sees reasons roller-coaster season can be fixed," 7 July 2018 Attempts to contact Riddle and her attorney, Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Clem, were not successful. Donald W. Meyers, The Seattle Times, "State Supreme Court weighs in on Yakima County clerk’s legal fight to keep her job," 6 July 2018 While highly educated African-Americans are now more successful than ever, the bottom appears to have fallen out for poor blacks. The Economist, "The wage gap between white and black men is growing wider," 5 July 2018 With this new technique, future missions to binary asteroids will be much more successful. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "New Spacecraft Will Head to Binary Asteroid to Help Protect the Planet," 25 June 2018 Being in the Manny Game means your team is successful and well-run and sees the future as closer than a Five Year Plan. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Imagine if the Reds were buyers instead of sellers at MLB trade deadline," 13 July 2018 Though there are alternatives to detention – like using ankle monitors or community supervision – that have proven to be successful and cost-effective, the Trump administration is focused primarily on locking migrants up. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Returns to ‘Catch and Release’ for Migrant Families – But Maybe Not for Long," 11 July 2018 The problem was almost that its plan to exploit Croatia’s lack of pace at the back was too successful and England overplayed its hand. Jonathan Wilson,, "Croatia's Character, Resiliency on Full Display in Shocking Run to World Cup Final," 11 July 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

5 Oct 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).


not any or not one

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