[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. fatbody,
  2. fate,
  3. fate map,
  4. fate worse than death, a,
  5. fated,
  6. fatefully,
  7. fates,
  8. fath,
  9. fath.,
  10. fathead

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