fortune Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another
    chance; hazard; luck.
    • bad luck caused his downfall
    • we ran into each other by pure chance
  2. noun a large amount of wealth or prosperity
  3. noun an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favorable outcome
    • it was my good luck to be there
    • they say luck is a lady
    • it was as if fortune guided his hand
  4. noun your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you)
    destiny; fate; portion; lot; luck; circumstances.
    • whatever my fortune may be
    • deserved a better fate
    • has a happy lot
    • the luck of the Irish
    • a victim of circumstances
    • success that was her portion


For"tune noun
F. fortune, L. fortuna; akin to fors, fortis, chance, prob. fr. ferre to bear, bring. See Bear to support, and cf. Fortuitous.
  1. The arrival of something in a sudden or unexpected manner; chance; accident; luck; hap; also, the personified or deified power regarded as determining human success, apportioning happiness and unhappiness, and distributing arbitrarily or fortuitously the lots of life.
    'T is more by fortune, lady, than by merit. Shak.
    O Fortune, Fortune, all men call thee fickle. Shak.
  2. That which befalls or is to befall one; lot in life, or event in any particular undertaking; fate; destiny; as, to tell one's fortune.
    You, who men's fortunes in their faces read. Cowley.
  3. That which comes as the result of an undertaking or of a course of action; good or ill success; especially, favorable issue; happy event; success; prosperity as reached partly by chance and partly by effort.
    Our equal crimes shall equal fortune give. Dryden.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Shak.
    His father dying, he was driven to seek his fortune. Swift.
  4. Wealth; large possessions; large estate; riches; as, a gentleman of fortune. Syn. -- Chance; accident; luck; fate. Crashaw.
For"tune transitive verb
OF. fortuner, L. fortunare. See Fortune, n.
  1. To make fortunate; to give either good or bad fortune to. Obs. Chaucer.
  2. To provide with a fortune. Richardson.
  3. To presage; to tell the fortune of. Obs. Dryden.
For"tune intransitive verb
  1. To fall out; to happen.
    It fortuned the same night that a Christian, serving a Turk in the camp, secretely gave the watchmen warning. Knolles.

Webster 1913