Fates, otherwise Parcae, was the Roman title of the three female deities who supervised fate rather than determining it. Their names were Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, and they were the daughters of Nyx. The Latin word Fata is a plural that is probably an adaptation of the singular word fatum, meaning 'that which is spoken'.

In the course of time, however, the neuter plural noun fata became a feminine singular (not in classical Latin), and this is now seen in the Italian fata and French, 'fairy'. The Greeks called the Fates Moirai.