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[fawr-chuh n] /ˈfɔr tʃən/
position in life as determined by wealth:
to make one's fortune.
wealth or riches:
to lose a small fortune in bad investments.
great wealth; ample stock of money, property, and the like:
to be worth a fortune.
chance; luck:
They each had the bad fortune to marry the wrong person.
fortunes, things that happen or are to happen to a person in his or her life.
fate; lot; destiny:
whatever my fortune may be.
(initial capital letter) chance personified, commonly regarded as a mythical being distributing arbitrarily or capriciously the lots of life:
Perhaps Fortune will smile on our venture.
good luck; success; prosperity:
a family blessed by fortune.
Archaic. a wealthy woman; an heiress.
verb (used with object), fortuned, fortuning.
Archaic. to endow (someone or something) with a fortune.
verb (used without object), fortuned, fortuning.
Archaic. to chance or happen; come by chance.
tell someone's fortune, to profess to inform someone of future events in his or her own life; foretell.
Origin of fortune
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin fortūna chance, luck, fortune, derivative of fort- (stem of fors) chance
Related forms
fortuneless, adjective
4. fate, destiny, providence; kismet, karma. 7. Moira; Lady Luck. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fortune
  • The last of the moo shu pork is devoured and the fortune cookies arrive: fate in folded wafers.
  • fortune and fame can be fleeting, and if you pursue them above all else you are fostering unhappiness in your life.
  • And looking at the past decade as a whole, fortune has clearly smiled on fortune-builders.
  • That's not irresponsible, people have to accept that you cannot go around blaming others for their poor fortune.
  • Celebrating a magazine's good fortune and a nation's.
  • Foundations and universities have spent a fortune producing freely available online course materials.
  • Since antiquity it has known many reversals of fortune.
  • But even in the face of adversity, lucky people turn bad breaks into good fortune.
  • Cootie catchers are a popular means of fortune telling, but their accuracy is somewhat suspect.
  • Your husband's commitment eventually paid off, thankfully, though many others will not experience the same good fortune.
British Dictionary definitions for fortune


an amount of wealth or material prosperity, esp, when unqualified, a great amount
small fortune, a large sum of money
a power or force, often personalized, regarded as being responsible for human affairs; chance
luck, esp when favourable
(often pl) a person's lot or destiny
  1. (transitive) to endow with great wealth
  2. (intransitive) to happen by chance
Derived Forms
fortuneless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin fortūna, from fors chance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fortune

c.1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly from PIE *bhrtu- and related to base *bher- (1) "to carry" (see infer).

Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Sense of "owned wealth" first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth" itself. Soldier of fortune first attested 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with fortune


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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