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
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            Necessity and chance
            Approach not me; and what I will is fate. --Milton.
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            Beyond and above the Olympian gods lay the silent,
            brooding, everlasting fate of which victim and
            tyrant were alike the instruments.    --Froude.
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   2. Appointed lot; allotted life; arranged or predetermined
      event; destiny; especially, the final lot; doom; ruin;
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            The great, th'important day, big with the fate
            Of Cato and of Rome.                  --Addison.
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            Our wills and fates do so contrary run
            That our devices still are overthrown. --Shak.
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            The whizzing arrow sings,
            And bears thy fate, Antinous, on its wings. --Pope.
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   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.
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            A brave man struggling in the storms of fate.
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            Sometimes an hour of Fate's serenest weather strikes
            through our changeful sky its coming beams. --B.
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   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.
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   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.

   Syn: Destiny; lot; doom; fortune; chance.
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