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

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Other Words from successful

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

The idea that a creature successful enough to reach reproductive maturity would want to mess with the genetic formula is also odd. Jon Kelvey, Smithsonian, "The Evolution of Sex Could Have Provided a Defense Against Cancer Cells," 11 June 2019 Get our daily newsletter Senegal is one of Africa’s more successful countries. The Economist, "Thousands of children are abused in Senegal’s religious schools," 11 June 2019 Everything outside of cooking didn’t feel nearly as successful or fun. Isabelle O'carroll, Bon Appétit, "How Cooking Made Me See My ADHD as a Talent Instead of a Shame," 10 June 2019 The Switch is quickly becoming one of Nintendo's most successful and influential systems ever. Wired Staff, WIRED, "15 Nintendo Switch Games for Every Kind of Player," 9 June 2019 If successful, Jacono says, the resource center could become a model for hospitals operating in urban areas across the country. Leila Atassi,, "MetroHealth’s Buckeye Health Center to feature wraparound services, social support for patients on poverty’s edge," 7 June 2019 And those foundations were immensely successful at spreading a gospel of population control abroad — particularly in newly independent India. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "“The time of vasectomy”: how American foundations fueled a terrible atrocity in India," 5 June 2019 Influencers are also successful at driving a quick response from their followers, according to Lauren McGrath, VP of studio and strategy at influencer marketing platform Activate. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Amazon wants influencers to help it sell clothes," 5 June 2019 Arizona was been successful on 20 of its past 21 tries with Jarrod Dyson leading the team with 12 steals. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Outfielder David Peralta returns from shoulder injury to Diamondbacks lineup," 3 June 2019

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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Statistics for successful

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for successful

The first known use of successful was in 1594

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More Definitions for successful



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

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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).


showing courage and determination

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