late 15c., "quality of causing death," from French fatalité, from Late Latin fatalitatem (nominative fatalitas) "fatal necessity, fatality," from Latin fatalis "ordained by fate; destructive, deadly" (see fatal). Senses in 16c.-17c. included "determined by fate" and "a destiny." Meaning "an occurrence resulting in widespread death" is from 1840. Related: Fatalities.