Word Origin & History
c.1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from O.Fr. fortune (12c.), from L. fortuna, from fors (gen. fortis) "chance, luck," from PIE base *bhrtis-. 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. The fortune cookie (1962) is said to have been invented in 1918 by David Jung, Chinese immigrant to America who established Hong Kong Noodle Co., who handed out cookies that contained uplifting messages as a promotional gimmick. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine.