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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Fate \Fate\ (f[=a]t), n. [L. fatum a prophetic declaration, oracle, what is ordained by the gods, destiny, fate, fr. fari to speak: cf. OF. fat. See Fame, Fable, Ban, and cf. 1st Fay, Fairy.] 1. A fixed decree by which the order of things is prescribed; the immutable law of the universe; inevitable necessity; the force by which all existence is determined and conditioned. [1913 Webster] Necessity and chance Approach not me; and what I will is fate. --Milton. [1913 Webster] Beyond and above the Olympian gods lay the silent, brooding, everlasting fate of which victim and tyrant were alike the instruments. --Froude. [1913 Webster] 2. Appointed lot; allotted life; arranged or predetermined event; destiny; especially, the final lot; doom; ruin; death. [1913 Webster] The great, th'important day, big with the fate Of Cato and of Rome. --Addison. [1913 Webster] Our wills and fates do so contrary run That our devices still are overthrown. --Shak. [1913 Webster] The whizzing arrow sings, And bears thy fate, Antinous, on its wings. --Pope. [1913 Webster] 3. The element of chance in the affairs of life; the unforeseen and unestimated conitions considered as a force shaping events; fortune; esp., opposing circumstances against which it is useless to struggle; as, fate was, or the fates were, against him. [1913 Webster] A brave man struggling in the storms of fate. --Pope. [1913 Webster] Sometimes an hour of Fate's serenest weather strikes through our changeful sky its coming beams. --B. Taylor. [1913 Webster] 4. pl. [L. Fata, pl. of fatum.] (Myth.) The three goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, sometimes called the Destinies, or Parc[ae]who were supposed to determine the course of human life. They are represented, one as holding the distaff, a second as spinning, and the third as cutting off the thread. [1913 Webster] Note: Among all nations it has been common to speak of fate or destiny as a power superior to gods and men -- swaying all things irresistibly. This may be called the fate of poets and mythologists. Philosophical fate is the sum of the laws of the universe, the product of eternal intelligence and the blind properties of matter. Theological fate represents Deity as above the laws of nature, and ordaining all things according to his will -- the expression of that will being the law. --Krauth-Fleming. Syn: Destiny; lot; doom; fortune; chance. [1913 Webster]