1. The supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events: Fate did not favor his career.
a. The inevitable events predestined by this force: It was her fate to marry a lout.
b. A final result or consequence; an outcome: What was the fate of your project?
c. An unfavorable outcome in life; doom or death: suffered a fate worse than death; the island where the explorer met his fate.
3. Fates Greek & Roman Mythology The three goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, who control human destiny. Used with the.
[Middle English, from Old French fat, from Latin fātum, prophecy, doom, from neuter past participle of fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.