[ des-tuh-nee ]
/ ˈdɛs tə ni /
Save This Word!

noun, plural des·ti·nies.
something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing; lot or fortune.
the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.
the power or agency that determines the course of events.
(initial capital letter) this power personified or represented as a goddess.
the Destinies, the Fates.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of destiny

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English destinee, from Old French (noun use of past participle of destiner ), from Latin dēstināta, feminine past participle of dēstināre. See destine, -ee

synonym study for destiny

2. See fate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does destiny mean?

Destiny commonly refers to a specific future or outcome that results from a predetermined or inevitable course of events. The word can also refer to the course of events itself or to the power or force thought to make such things happen.

A close synonym for all of these senses of the word destiny is fate.

Destiny involves what is going to happen, what has to happen, or what is meant to be. If a certain future is said to be someone’s destiny, it can mean that it’s destined (foreordained or predetermined) to happen, or that it should happen. Destiny is often thought to be out of our control, though some people believe you can control your own destiny.

Destiny is sometimes personified—represented as a person, such as a goddess who has the power to determine the course of events in life. When used this way, it is often capitalized.

Destiny should not be confused with density, which is the quality of how dense or compact something is.

Example: I believe it was my destiny to be there that day so that we could meet—it was meant to be.

Where does destiny come from?

The first records of the word destiny come from around 1300. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb dēstināre, meaning “to determine.”

When destiny is used to refer to a force that controls what will happen, it’s often thought of a cosmic or supernatural power—or it’s at least compared to one. When destiny is used in the context of religion, it’s often used in discussions of whether humans have free will—the freedom to make our own choices.

The idea of destiny is a common theme in many epic stories, such as those that involve a heroic character who’s the subject of a prophecy.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to destiny?

  • destinies (plural)

What are some synonyms for destiny?

What are some words that share a root or word element with destiny

What are some words that often get used in discussing destiny?

How is destiny used in real life?

People usually talk about destiny in terms of what is going to happen to them or what is meant to happen.


Try using destiny!

Is destiny used correctly in the following sentence?

It is your destiny to run this company, and nothing will stand in your way.

How to use destiny in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for destiny (1 of 2)

/ (ˈdɛstɪnɪ) /

noun plural -nies
the future destined for a person or thing; fate; fortune; lot
the predetermined or inevitable course of events
the ultimate power or agency that predetermines the course of events

Word Origin for destiny

C14: from Old French destinee, from destiner to destine

British Dictionary definitions for destiny (2 of 2)

/ (ˈdɛstɪnɪ) /

noun plural -nies
the power that predetermines events, personified as a goddess
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