[ feyt-fuh l ]
/ ˈfeɪt fəl /


having momentous significance or consequences; decisively important; portentous: a fateful meeting between the leaders of the two countries.
fatal, deadly, or disastrous.
controlled or determined by destiny; inexorable.
prophetic; ominous.

Origin of fateful

First recorded in 1705–15; fate + -ful
Related formsfate·ful·ly, adverbfate·ful·ness, noun
Can be confusedfatal fateful fetal (see synonym study at fatal)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fateful

British Dictionary definitions for fateful


/ (ˈfeɪtfʊl) /


having important consequences; decisively important
bringing death or disaster
controlled by or as if by fate
Derived Formsfatefully, adverbfatefulness, 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

Word Origin and History for fateful



1710s, "prophetic," from fate + -ful. Meaning "of momentous consequences" is from c.1800. Related: Fatefully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper