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[suh k-ses-fuh l] /səkˈsɛs fəl/
achieving or having achieved success.
having attained wealth, position, honors, or the like.
resulting in or attended with success.
Origin of successful
First recorded in 1580-90; success + -ful
Related forms
successfully, adverb
successfulness, noun
half-successful, adjective
half-successfully, adverb
half-successfulness, noun
nonsuccessful, adjective
nonsuccessfully, adverb
presuccessful, adjective
presuccessfully, adverb
quasi-successful, adjective
quasi-successfully, adverb
semisuccessful, adjective
semisuccessfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for successful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The room we entered was heated by what I took to be a successful furnace.

  • When great sorrows come it is because in the struggle we have not been successful.

  • Never had there been insurrection so sudden, so short, and so successful.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Already she was learning that peace of mind is essential to successful endeavor.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Crane's latter-day racing had been successful—he made money at it.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
British Dictionary definitions for successful


having succeeded in one's endeavours
marked by a favourable outcome
having obtained fame, wealth, etc
Derived Forms
successfully, adverb
successfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for successful

1580s, from success + -ful. Originally any kind of success; since late 19c. it has tended to mean "wealthy" unless otherwise indicated. Related: Successfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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