Definition of fate in English:


Syllabification: fate
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.
    More 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) Back to top  
  • 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.
More 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'.

More definitions of fate

Definition of fate in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmālˌsträm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea