suc·​cess·​ful | \ sək-ˈses-fəl How to pronounce successful (audio) \

Definition of successful

1 : resulting or terminating in success a successful attempt
2 : gaining or having gained success a successful investor

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from successful

successfully \ sək-​ˈses-​fə-​lē How to pronounce successfully (audio) \ adverb
successfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for successful



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 If successful, the project could enable diabetics to set up their own low-cost insulin production systems at home. Washington Post, "Baltimore’s community lab puts the scientific method in the people’s hands," 11 July 2020 The plan doesn’t include ballot drop boxes, which proved successful during other elections this year. Rachel Glickhouse, ProPublica, "Electionland 2020: NJ Primary, CDC Election Guidance, Fall Voting Plans and More," 10 July 2020 The Helping Families Initiative has proven successful in Mobile and underway in six judicial districts state wide, including Birmingham. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Johnson: Black people, we’ve got work to do -- the killing must stop," 6 July 2020 Blending into the safety of the mainstream has proven successful for plenty in his generation, but that isn’t what endeared people to him in the first place. Gary Suarez,, "On Pop Smoke's Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, unfulfilled promise looms large," 3 July 2020 If those tests prove successful, Canada's National Research Council will produce the vaccine for the Canadian market at a manufacturing facility in Montreal. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "In the coronavirus vaccine race, China is a surprise frontrunner," 2 July 2020 If successful, the amendment will appear on the November ballot for a vote in the general election. Fox News, "State senator calls out 'hypocrisy' of Minneapolis City Council members getting private security," 2 July 2020 In such cases, ruxolitinib has proved successful in interrupting the chain of events that leads graft-versus-host disease to develop into a cytokine storm. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW joins drug trial aimed at preventing major COVID-19 killer: Haywire immune response," 24 June 2020 If successful, the experimental helicopter will be whirring through the red planet’s thin atmosphere, the New York Times reports. National Geographic, "Why so hot so early in the summer?," 24 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of successful

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about successful

Time Traveler for successful

Time Traveler

The first known use of successful was in 1594

See more words from the same year

Statistics for successful

Last Updated

30 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Successful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for successful


How to pronounce successful (audio)

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 How to pronounce successful (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!