A fateful moment is one that seems impossible to avoid. And when a fateful event occurs, it feels like it will have a big impact on your future — and usually not in a good way.

“I can fit my head into this jar!” — fateful words that resulted in a trip to the hospital. Most of the time, fateful spells disaster. There was the fateful day you left your guinea pig’s cage door open, and there are fateful decisions that seem innocent at the time, but come back to haunt you later. Fate is the idea that your life is mapped out, and a fateful instance is one significant landmark on that map.

Definitions of fateful

adj controlled or decreed by fate; predetermined

incapable of being avoided or prevented

adj ominously prophetic

foreboding, portentous
prophetic, prophetical
foretelling events as if by supernatural intervention

adj having momentous consequences; of decisive importance

“"that fateful meeting of the U.N. when...it declared war on North Korea"- Saturday Rev”
determining or having the power to determine an outcome

adj (of events) having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin

“a fateful error”
black, calamitous, disastrous, fatal
not favored by fortune; marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.