The Meaning of Destiny: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of destiny? This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the word destiny, including its definition, etymology, synonyms and antonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word destiny mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, destiny is a noun that refers to a predetermined state, a divine course of events, or the fixed order of things. If someone believes in destiny, they believe in an irresistible power that governs the universe. This invincible necessity and necessary fate goes against the ideas of free will and human will. One can add the suffix nies to the end of destiny to form the plural noun destinies. Destiny is three syllables – des-ti-ny, and the pronunciation of destiny is ˈdɛstɪnɪ. 

The word destiny has also been used as one of many popular baby names since the 1970s and before per the Social Security Administration in states like Tennessee and California. The popularity of this name ebbs and flows. This has been used as a baby girl’s first name for many years. The meaning of the name Destiny is fate or the face of destiny. This is a great name if you feel your child will have a strong sense of destiny or that their predetermined future is written in the cosmos. Other baby girl names that are similar sounding names include the below English baby names from The Bump:

  •  Essence
  •  Brittany
  •  Destinee
  •  Devon
  •  Desmond
  •  Dustin
  •  Melanie
  •  Weston
  •  Boston
  •  Easton
  •  Dalton
  •  Declan
  •  Darian
  •  Daxton
  •  Devin
  •  Justin
  •  Destini
  •  Westin
  •  Delaney
  •  Estefany
  •  Preston

Many different languages also contain words that mean destiny. You may notice that many of these translations of destiny look and sound similar to the word destiny. These are called cognates, which are words in phrases in different languages that look, sound and mean something similar. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word destiny is provided by Word Sense

  • ​​ Bokmål: skjebne‎ (masc.)
  •  Volapük: fät‎
  •  Hijazi Arabic: مَصِير‎, قَدَر‎, نَصيب‎, قِسْمَة‎
  •  Old English: wyrd‎ (fem.)
  •  Modern: μοίρα‎ (fem.), πεπρωμένο‎ (neut.)
  •  Macedonian: судбина‎ (fem.), касмет‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: végzet‎
  •  Slovene: usoda‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 運命‎ (うんめい, unmei), 宿命‎ (しゅくめい, shukumei)
  •  French: destin‎ (masc.), destinée‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: destino‎ (masc.), sorte‎ (fem.), fato‎ (masc.)
  •  Arbëresh: psorë‎
  •  Spanish: destino‎ (masc.), azar‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: fado‎ (masc.), destino‎ (masc.), sorte‎ (fem.)
  •  Finnish: kohtalo‎
  •  Catalan: destí‎ (masc.), planeta‎ (fem.)
  •  Hebrew: מזל‎, גורל‎
  •  Cherokee: ᎢᏳᏓᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ‎ (iyudalisdanedi)
  •  Romanian: soartă‎, destin‎ (neut.)
  •  Bashkir: яҙмыш‎
  •  Swahili: majaliwa‎
  •  Georgian: ბედი‎, ბედისწერა‎
  •  Belarusian: лёс‎ (masc.)
  •  Cyrillic: судба‎ (fem.), судбина‎ (fem.)
  •  Icelandic: örlög‎ (n-p)
  •  Czech: osud‎ (masc.)
  •  Nynorsk: skjebne‎ (masc.)
  •  Venetian: sòrt‎ (fem.)
  •  Sorani: چاره‌نووس‎ (çarenus), قه‌زا و قه‌ده‌ر‎ (qeza u qeder)
  •  Ancient: μοῖρα‎ (fem.)
  •  Basque: adur‎, zori‎
  •  Arabic: قِسْمَة‎ (fem.), مَصِير‎ (masc.), قَدَر‎ (masc.)
  •  Latin: fatum‎ (neut.), sors‎, fatus‎ (masc.)
  •  Roman: sudba‎ (fem.), sudbina‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Schicksal‎ (neut.)
  •  Polish: los‎ (masc.), przeznaczenie‎ (neut.)
  •  Mandarin: 命運‎, 命运‎ (mìngyùn), 氣數‎, 气数‎ (qìshu), 宿命‎ (sùmìng), 運命‎, 运命‎ (yùnmìng)
  •  Nepali: भाग्य‎
  •  Armenian: ճակատագիր‎
  •  Danish: skæbne‎ (common)
  •  Swedish: öde‎ (neut.)
  •  Bulgarian: съдба‎ (fem.), у́част‎ (fem.), орис‎ (fem.)
  •  Esperanto: sorto‎
  •  Estonian: saatus‎
  •  Norman: destinné‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: судьба́‎ (fem.), до́ля‎ (fem.), у́часть‎ (fem.), рок‎ (masc.), уде́л‎ (masc.)
  •  Korean: 숙명‎ (宿命), 운명‎ (運命)
  •  Ukrainian: до́ля‎ (fem.), льос‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: lot‎ (neut.)

What is the origin of the word destiny? 

According to Etymonline, the word destiny has been used since mid c14 Middle English. This comes from the Old French destinée/old French destinee, a c12 word. This is the noun use of the feminine past participle of destiner, from the Latin destinata, Latin destinare and Latin dēstināre. These come from the word stā- in Indo-European roots.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word destiny?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word destiny. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English vocabulary or avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of destiny is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  providence
  •  life
  •  doom
  •  karma
  •  accident
  •  tomorrow
  •  moira
  •  lives
  •  break
  •  hap
  •  happenstance
  •  futures
  •  way the cookie crumbles
  •  fates
  •  stars
  •  end
  •  lot
  •  serendipity
  •  fate
  •  inevitability
  •  good fortune
  •  fortuity
  •  predetermination
  •  circumstance
  •  fortune
  •  coincidence
  •  portion
  •  chance
  •  conclusion
  •  fluke
  •  predestination
  •  world to come
  •  lucked into
  •  destination
  •  cup
  •  afterlife
  •  moirai
  •  necessity
  •  future
  •  fortunes
  •  circumstances
  •  certainty
  •  foreordination
  •  luck
  •  chances
  •  breaks
  •  kismet
  •  hazard
  •  wheel of fortune
  •  nemesis

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word destiny. These are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of destiny is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  disaster
  •  hard times
  •  black cycle
  •  petitio principii
  •  hardship
  •  origin
  •  job
  •  no-win situation
  •  dubiousness
  •  option
  •  critical situation
  •  impossibility
  •  contretemps
  •  can of worms
  •  hell on earth
  •  dithering
  •  embarkation
  •  circular argument
  •  bloody cycle
  •  chance
  •  composite
  •  fortuity
  •  offset victory
  •  double trouble
  •  cruel cycle
  •  cleft stick
  •  coincidence
  •  destructive cycle
  •  modern history
  •  choice
  •  unfortunate occurrence
  •  ill
  •  narrow victory
  •  heavy losses
  •  possibility
  •  dawdling
  •  botched situation
  •  cadmean victory
  •  car crash
  •  empty
  •  modern world
  •  between a rock and a hard place
  •  random coincidence
  •  jot
  •  problematic situation
  •  pyrrhic victory
  •  infamous cycle
  •  destitution
  •  decision
  •  human activity

Overall, the word destiny means fate or predestination. There is some debate whether this inevitable course of events or belief that our overall circumstances are outside of human power goes against the belief of ultimate agency, especially because some people may be considered to have a better fate while others are a victim of circumstances. This word is a noun and is also commonly used as a girl’s name in the United States with other similar names. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. Destiny synonyms – 810 Words and Phrases for Destiny | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Destiny antonyms – 101 Opposites of Destiny | Power Thesaurus 
  3. destiny | Origin and meaning of destiny | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Destiny – Baby Name Meaning, Origin and Popularity | The Bump 
  5. destiny: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense