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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.
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


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.
see: make a fortune


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  • Fortune five hundred

    A listing of the five hundred largest industrial companies published each year in Fortune magazine.

  • Fortuneteller

    [fawr-chuh n-tel-er] /ˈfɔr tʃənˌtɛl ər/ noun 1. a person who claims the ability to predict the future. noun 1. a person who makes predictions about the future as by looking into a crystal ball, reading palms, etc n. also fortune-teller, 1580s, from fortune + teller. Verbal phrase tellen fortune is from early 15c.

  • Fortune-hunter

    noun 1. a person who hopes to prosper, especially through marriage to someone of wealth. noun 1. a person who seeks to secure a fortune, esp through marriage

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