1. subject to, guided by, or predetermined by fate; destined.


  1. something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot: It is always his fate to be left behind.
  2. the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause of events; time: Fate decreed that they would never meet again.
  3. that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny: Death is our ineluctable fate.
  4. a prophetic declaration of what must be: The oracle pronounced their fate.
  5. death, destruction, or ruin.
  6. the Fates, Classical Mythology. the three goddesses of destiny, known to the Greeks as the Moerae and to the Romans as the Parcae.

verb (used with object), fat·ed, fat·ing.

  1. to predetermine, as by the decree of fate; destine (used in the passive): a person who was fated to be the savior of the country.


  1. destined
  2. doomed to death or destruction


  1. the ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events
  2. the inevitable fortune that befalls a person or thing; destiny
  3. the end or final result
  4. a calamitous or unfavourable outcome or result; death, destruction, or downfall


  1. (tr; usually passive) to predetermine; doomhe was fated to lose the game

late 14c., from Latin fata, neuter plural of fatum “prophetic declaration, oracle, prediction,” thus “that which is ordained, destiny, fate,” literally “thing spoken (by the gods),” from neuter past participle of fari “to speak,” from PIE *bha- (2) “speak” (see fame (n.)).

The Latin sense evolution is from “sentence of the Gods” (Greek theosphaton) to “lot, portion” (Greek moira, personified as a goddess in Homer), also “one of the three goddesses (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) who determined the course of a human life.” The native word was wyrd (see weird).


“to preordain as if by fate; to be destined by fate,” c.1600, from fate (n.). Related: Fated; fating. Earlier it meant “to destroy” (c.1400).

In addition to the idioms beginning with fate

  • fate worse than death, a

also see:

  • seal one’s fate
  • tempt fate
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