Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

succeed - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     succeed pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesucceeding
past tensesucceeded
past participlesucceeded
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to achieve something that you planned to do or attempted to do

    We all want to make the peace process succeed.

    succeed in (doing) something:

    We finally succeeded in getting Marjorie up the stairs.

    1. a.
      used for saying that someone’s actions have a negative result that is the opposite of what they intended

      They were trying to please us but just succeeded in offending everyone.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to do well in school, in your career, or in some other activity

    You have 50,000 fans hoping that you succeed in the final.

    In today’s economy, you need to have very specific skills to succeed.

    succeed in:

    If you want to succeed in business, think big.

    There is a lot of pressure on children to succeed in school.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to replace someone in an important or powerful job or position

    In 1649 Turkey’s Sultan Ibrahim was succeeded by Mohammed IV.

    succeed someone as something:

    Anderson is expected to succeed Rondell as president of the board.

    1. a.
      formal to follow and replace something

      Embarrassment had now been succeeded by fear.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play