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 This healing method has been successful in numerous studies, and is listed on Britain's National Health Service’s website as a complementary and alternative medicine because it is considered a treatment that falls outside of mainstream health care. Melissa Badamo, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Benefits derived from putting essential oils in belly button are questionable," 3 July 2020 Google did not see signs that the assaults were successful. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Worst Hacks and Breaches of 2020 So Far," 3 July 2020 The strategy would have been successful, had the 747-8 not been bedeviled by early mismanagement, blowing its budget and deadlines, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with Teal Group. Julie Johnsson,, "Boeing quietly pulls plug on the 747, closing era of jumbo jets," 3 July 2020 The initiative was successful, prompting Dewine to expand it to the state's nursing homes. Segann March, The Enquirer, "Ohio’s nursing homes allowing outdoor visitation beginning July 20," 1 July 2020 The integration of the parallel tracks is not always successful. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How the flaws in Golden State Killer series 'I'll Be Gone in the Dark' become strengths," 1 July 2020 However, Lowe wasn’t sure the new studio would be successful and declined. Matt Wake |, al, "Muscle Shoals music’s unsung guitar genius," 30 June 2020 O’Reilly said issues like education, paid family leave and access to affordable health care are part of the Democratic message that’s been successful. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Senate hopeful MJ Hegar banking on suburban women to carry her to victory against Royce West, John Cornyn," 30 June 2020 Without this rule, commanders would be unable to be successful in combat – or in any activity, really – as soldiers could simply refuse to do as they are told. Dwight Stirling, The Conversation, "Why soldiers can’t claim conscientious objection if ordered to suppress protests," 30 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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Successful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!