There are 2 main definitions of fortune in English:

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fortune 1

Line breaks: for|tune
Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːtʃuːn/


1 [mass noun] Chance or luck as an arbitrary force affecting human affairs: some malicious act of fortune keeps them separate
More example sentences
  • Notwithstanding those difficulties the biggest problem facing any publisher is chance and fickle fortune.
  • Peter's exercised the discipline and fitness that we have come to expect from them, but were also forced to rely on fortune.
  • Aries, the cosmic lamb/ram, thus was seen to control time and space and human fortune.
chance, accident, coincidence, serendipity, twist of fate, destiny, fortuity, providence, freak, hazard;
fate, Lady Luck, Dame Fortune;
North American happenstance
1.1Luck, especially good luck: only good fortune has prevented British casualties
More example sentences
  • They usually employed various psychological techniques to cope with and often even thrive upon any ill fortune that came their way.
  • Maguire missed four of the last Cheltenham Festivals due to ill fortune.
  • They have not reached this predicament simply through ill fortune.
luck, fate, destiny, predestination, the stars, fortuity, serendipity, karma, kismet, lot, what is written in the stars
1.2 (fortunes) The success or failure of a person or enterprise over a period of time: he is credited with turning round the company’s fortunes
More example sentences
  • The party's electoral fortunes also revived in the state elections and by-elections.
  • He hoped that a successful outcome in the Special Election would reverse his sagging political fortunes.
  • The club's fortunes have risen and declined again.
circumstances, state of affairs, condition, financial/material position, financial/material situation, financial/material status;
resources, means, finances, income;
plight, predicament;
station in life, lot, lifestyle;
future, prospects
2A large amount of money or assets: he inherited a substantial fortune
More example sentences
  • But it still amounts to a substantial fortune for him not to have a share of.
  • In fact, only a handful of the wealthy allow their entire fortunes to be taxed.
  • Not only does he smoke heavily, but he has made a substantial fortune out of selling and marketing tobacco, to the detriment of the health of many people.
2.1 (a fortune) informal A surprisingly high price or amount of money: I spent a fortune on drink
More example sentences
  • It will not cost a fortune to buy, insurance is not needed, maintenance is minimal and a driving licence is not essential.
  • Like all Kias, the Sorento will not cost you a fortune to buy or to run.
  • Items such as modern hi-tech lamps can cost a fortune to buy but you haven't begun to count the real cost until you work out what you pay to travel with them.


fortune favours the brave

proverb A successful person is often one who is willing to take risks.
Example sentences
  • It is said that fortune favours the brave and that was certainly the case as the swimmers took to the icy waters despite the unfavourable elements, giving a teeth-chattering rendition of Jingle Bells as they did so.
  • But if fortune favours the brave, the racecourse and its manager deserve good luck, better weather and a successful festival.
  • But fortune favours the brave and Wanderers have been rewarded for their bold buying policy.

the fortunes of war

The unpredictable events of war: from then on, the fortunes of war favoured the Scots
More example sentences
  • It is the fortunes of war and I could just have easily have come out the other way.
  • Don't journalists accept this as the fortunes of war?
  • The missions will grow and change to reflect the fortunes of war, and your faction's standing in the war.

make a (or one's) fortune

Acquire great wealth by one’s own efforts: he had come from Wales to make his fortune as a pop singer
More example sentences
  • Corzine made his fortune by acquiring and maintaining the vast majority of his net worth in Goldman Sachs.
  • In one of the most extraordinary ironies of history, Gutenburg's efforts to make his fortune by popularising the Bible were to play a decisive role in the undermining of the influence of the organised church.
  • She answers an enigmatic classified ad and travels to New York City not to make her fortune, for fortunes are rare in the sixth year of the Great Depression, but to survive.

a small fortune

informal A large amount of money: that dusty old painting on the wall could be worth a small fortune
More example sentences
  • The fishing rights must now be worth a small fortune.
  • The sum is worth a small fortune in India, where it could feed and clothe a family for life.
  • And if that volume is still around it will be worth a small fortune.

tell someone's fortune

Make predictions about a person’s future by palmistry, using a crystal ball, or similar methods: during uncertain times people flocked to have their fortunes told
More example sentences
  • I know fortune cookies rarely tell your fortune, but when did they start telling you off?
  • Then an older man, wearing a lab coat but still strongly reminiscent of both the tarot reader and the zodiac expert, ran his fingertips over the slides, as though they were Braille, and told her fortune.
  • You may want to save these though, since many believe that you can use them to tell your fortune.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin Fortuna, the name of a goddess personifying luck or chance.

  • The Roman goddess Fortuna, who personified luck or chance, gave us the English word fortune and fortuitous (mid 17th century). The saying fortune favours the brave, is found in English from the late 14th century, but the same idea can be traced back to classical times. The Roman poet Virgil included the line ‘audentes fortuna iuvat’ or ‘fortune favours the brave’ in his epic poem the Aeneid. See also hostage

Words that rhyme with fortune


Definition of fortune in:

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There are 2 main definitions of fortune in English:

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Fortune 500 2 Line breaks: For|tune 500


( trademark in the US)
An annual list of the five hundred largest US industrial corporations, as measured by gross income: the product is targeted at Fortune 500 developers
More example sentences
  • Today, Mexico has some of the richest people in the world and companies listed on the Fortune 500.
  • I don't expect the Fortune 500, the Forbes 1,000, or any other list like that, to create the jobs.
  • Over 500 top corporations, including a number from the Fortune 500, take part in the program.

Definition of fortune in:

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