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success (n.)

1530s, "result, outcome," from Latin successus "an advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome," noun use of past participle of succedere "come after, follow after; go near to; come under; take the place of," also "go from under, mount up, ascend," hence "get on well, prosper, be victorious," from sub "next to, after" (see sub-) + cedere "go, move" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Meaning "accomplishment of desired end" (good success) first recorded 1580s. Meaning "a thing or person which succeeds," especially in public, is from 1882.

The moral flabbiness born of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That -- with the squalid interpretation put on the word success -- is our national disease. [William James to H.G. Wells, Sept. 11, 1906]

Success story is attested from 1902. Among the French phrases reported by OED as in use in English late 19c. were succès d'estime "cordial reception given to a literary work out of respect rather than admiration" and succès de scandale "success (especially of a work of art) dependent upon its scandalous character."

Origin and meaning of success

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Definitions of success from WordNet

success (n.)
an event that accomplishes its intended purpose;
let's call heads a success and tails a failure
the election was a remarkable success for the Whigs
success (n.)
an attainment that is successful;
his success in the marathon was unexpected
his new play was a great success
success (n.)
a state of prosperity or fame;
he is enjoying great success
he does not consider wealth synonymous with success
success (n.)
a person with a record of successes;
if you want to be a success you have to dress like a success
Synonyms: achiever / winner / succeeder
From wordnet.princeton.edu