[feyt-fuh l]
  1. having momentous significance or consequences; decisively important; portentous: a fateful meeting between the leaders of the two countries.
  2. fatal, deadly, or disastrous.
  3. controlled or determined by destiny; inexorable.
  4. 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)

Synonyms for fateful

1, 4. See ominous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fatefully

Contemporary Examples of fatefully

Historical Examples of fatefully

  • They have a feel of fatally shutting down, fatefully closing in.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • We pushed on past sentinels, motionless, silent, fatefully awake.

  • No service is done to an author like Stevenson by fatefully praising him for precisely the wrong thing.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    Alexander H. Japp

  • It was as if half a century of past time had fatefully for moments turned back.

    Fresh Fields

    John Burroughs

  • Rufus continued heavily, fatefully, gathering force with every word, as a loosened rock beginning to roll down a mountain side.

British Dictionary definitions for fatefully


  1. having important consequences; decisively important
  2. bringing death or disaster
  3. controlled by or as if by fate
  4. prophetic
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 fatefully



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper