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1530s, "result, outcome," from Latin successus "an advance, succession, happy outcome," from succedere "come after" (see succeed). Meaning "accomplishment of desired end" (good success) first recorded 1580s.
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 1925. Among the French phrases used 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."