Difference Wiki

Fail vs. Succeed: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 13, 2024
Fail means not achieving a desired or intended objective, while succeed means achieving a set goal or being successful.

Key Differences

Fail implies not meeting a set standard or not achieving an expected outcome. In contrast, succeed means accomplishing a goal or attaining success.
In educational settings, fail often means not reaching the pass mark in an exam or course. Conversely, succeed implies passing an exam or completing a course successfully.
When attempting a task, to fail is to not achieve the desired result. On the other hand, to succeed is to achieve the desired outcome of the task.
In the context of a business, fail can mean not reaching business goals or becoming insolvent. In contrast, succeed in business usually involves achieving profitability and growth.
In personal endeavors, fail means not reaching personal goals or benchmarks. Succeed, however, signifies achieving personal aspirations or overcoming challenges.

Comparison Chart


Not achieving a desired or intended goal
Achieving a set goal or being successful

Educational Context

Not passing an exam or course
Passing an exam or completing a course

Task Outcome

Not achieving the desired result
Achieving the desired outcome

Business Context

Not reaching business goals, insolvency
Achieving profitability and growth

Personal Endeavors

Not reaching personal goals
Achieving personal aspirations

Fail and Succeed Definitions


To break down or stop functioning.
The engine failed during the trip.


To achieve a desired aim or result.
She succeeded in her goal to become a doctor.


To be unsuccessful in achieving a goal.
He failed to win the race.


To have a favorable outcome.
The event succeeded despite the bad weather.


To disappoint expectations or trust.
The product failed to meet the customers' expectations.


To follow after someone in a position or role.
He succeeded his father as the company CEO.


To not pass a test or exam.
She failed her driving test.


To come next in time or order.
Spring succeeds winter.


To neglect to do something; omit.
He failed to mention the important detail.


To prosper or flourish.
After years of hard work, the business finally succeeded.


To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately
Failed to fulfill their promises.
Failed in their attempt to reach the summit.


To come next in time or order
She fell sick, and what succeeded was an outpouring of concern from her fans.


To be unsuccessful
An experiment that failed.


To replace another in office or position
The prince succeeded to the throne.


What does it mean to fail a test?

Failing a test means not achieving the required score to pass.

Is failing always negative?

While often seen negatively, failing can provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth.

What are the keys to succeeding in academics?

Succeeding academically often requires hard work, consistent study habits, and a passion for learning.

How is success measured in sports?

In sports, success is typically measured by performance, achievements, and the attainment of set goals.

How can one succeed in a career?

Succeeding in a career involves achieving professional goals and advancing in one's field.

Can success be subjective?

Yes, success can be subjective as it varies based on individual goals and perspectives.

Can success be achieved without failure?

While possible, many successful people have experienced and learned from failures.

What's the impact of failure on personal growth?

Failure can significantly impact personal growth by teaching resilience and problem-solving skills.

What causes failure in business?

Business failure can be caused by factors like poor management, lack of funds, or market changes.

What role does mindset play in success?

A positive and growth-oriented mindset is crucial for achieving success.

What habits lead to success?

Habits like goal-setting, persistence, and effective time management often lead to success.

Can failure lead to success?

Yes, experiencing failure can provide insights and resilience that contribute to future success.

What are common reasons for academic failure?

Common reasons include lack of preparation, poor study habits, and external distractions.

Is there a stigma attached to failure?

There can be a stigma, but changing attitudes view failure as a stepping stone to success.

Can external factors influence success and failure?

Yes, factors like economic conditions, societal norms, and personal circumstances can impact both.

How can one succeed in a new job?

To succeed in a new job, one should demonstrate initiative, learn continuously, and adapt to the company culture.

What skills are needed to succeed in entrepreneurship?

Skills like innovation, risk management, and leadership are key for entrepreneurship success.

Can failure affect mental health?

Yes, frequent or severe failure can impact mental health, emphasizing the need for resilience and support.

How do successful people view failure?

Many successful people view failure as an essential part of the learning and growth process.

How can failure be constructive?

Failure becomes constructive when it's used as a learning opportunity and motivator.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons