Definition of fate in English:

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Pronunciation: /fāt/


1The development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power: fate decided his course for him his injury is a cruel twist of fate
More example sentences
  • By a strange twist of fate, that actually is what the book was called.
  • Yet by an ironic twist of fate he is blind to the world around him, losing Dot, who is expecting his child, to a pastry maker.
  • However, it was a cruel twist of fate that robbed him yet again of a sprint race win and, therefore, of an Irish double.
destiny, providence, the stars, chance, luck, serendipity, fortune, kismet, karma
1.1The course of someone’s life, or the outcome of a particular situation for someone or something, seen as beyond their control: he suffered the same fate as his companion
More example sentences
  • Men controlled the fates of women, whose expected aim in life was to marry well.
  • While their paths diverged after 1990, their fates are entwined again this season.
  • Did they realize too, that their fates were inextricably fixed to the outcome of that day's actions?
future, destiny, outcome, end, lot
1.2 [in singular] The inescapable death of a person: the guards led her to her fate
More example sentences
  • It is easy to see that this was the logical response to the dawning realisation of death as the fate of us all.
  • His fate, death by firing squad, would hardly seem a cause for celebration.
  • Jesus is not praying to be rescued from death, for that is the fate of all human beings.
death, demise, end;
retribution, sentence
2 (the Fates) Greek & Roman Mythology The three goddesses who preside over the birth and life of humans. Each person’s destiny was thought of as a thread spun, measured, and cut by the three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Also called the Moirai and the Parcae.
Example sentences
  • They're called the three Fates: The Clotho, The Lachesis and The Atropos, named after the Greek mythology.
  • And the sort of Goddess which the Fates held out to me was contained in the Old Religion.
  • Atropos is the name of one of the Fates, mythical beings who controlled the destinies of humans.
the weird sisters;
the Parcae, the Moirai, the Norns;
‘Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos’
2.1 (Fates) another term for Norns.


(be fated)
Be destined to happen, turn out, or act in a particular way: [with infinitive]: the regime was fated to end badly
More example sentences
  • It is also a great New York story, a tai chi story, an accidental but somehow fated destiny.
  • Could the unearthing of that page really have fated this destiny for us?
  • The hard choice often perplexes them and they sometimes believe the decision is fated.
be predestined, be preordained, be destined, be meant, be doomed;
be sure, be certain, be bound, be guaranteed



a fate worse than death

see death.

seal someone's fate

Make it inevitable that something unpleasant will happen to someone.
Example sentences
  • He seals your fate, but looks confused if you protest.
  • He then takes to visiting the mad ward daily, an act which seals his fate.
  • And once you resist their military, you're pretty much sealing your fate.


Late Middle English: from Italian fato or Old French fator (later) from their source, Latin fatum 'that which has been spoken', from fari 'speak'.

  • This comes from Latin fatum ‘what has been said’, from fari ‘to speak’, source also of fabulous. The main sense of fatum was ‘the judgement or sentence of the gods’, but it came to mean a person's ‘lot’, or what would happen to them. The Fates were the three goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology who presided over the birth and life of humans. Each person was thought of as a spindle, around which the three Fates (Clotho, the spinner, Lachesis, who measured the thread, and Atropos, who cut it off) would spin the thread of human destiny.

Words that rhyme with fate

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, plate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, slate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, state, straight, strait, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait, weight

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fate

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