for·​tune | \ ˈfȯr-chən How to pronounce fortune (audio) \

Definition of fortune

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : a hypothetical force or personified power that unpredictably determines events and issues favorably or unfavorably a country favored by fortune
2 obsolete : accident, incident
3a : prosperity attained partly through luck : success fortune attended the general's campaign
c fortunes plural : the turns and courses of luck accompanying one's progress (as through life) her fortunes varied but she never gave up
4 : destiny, fate can tell your fortune also : a prediction of fortune
5a : riches, wealth a man of fortune
b : a store of material possessions the family fortune
c : a very large sum of money spent a fortune redecorating


fortuned; fortuning

Definition of fortune (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : to give good or bad fortune to
2 archaic : to endow with a fortune

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fortune

Synonyms: Noun


Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of fortune in a Sentence


He hoped to achieve fame and fortune. They had the good fortune to escape injury when their car crashed. The book follows the fortunes of two families through the years.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While the Baltimore asset manager would do well to listen to some of his advice, turning around its fortunes once again will take even bolder action this time around. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Legg Mason Needs Activist Help, Again," 16 May 2019 The scion of his family’s eponymous rifle company, and heir to its fortune, William died in 1881, leaving his widow a $20 million inheritance, and heiress to 50 percent ownership in the firearms business. David Nash, House Beautiful, "Inside the Winchester Mystery House, the Craziest Home in the Country," 15 May 2019 In choosing this path, which cuts out middlemen by offering only existing shares directly onto a stock exchange, Slack will save a small fortune in investment-banking fees that... Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Slack Can Make the Stretch," 29 Apr. 2019 The hapless transport minister paid a fortune to a company to run ferries if Britain crashes out of the European Union with no deal, only to discover the company had no, umm, actual ferries. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "Brits pretend they’re sick of Brexit. But truth is they’re obsessed.," 25 Mar. 2019 Foster came into a fortune and spent it all, building a house with five bedrooms, two baths, 14-foot ceilings and its own natural gas production facility. Bo Emerson, ajc, "Architectural gem rescued by Madison conservancy," 13 July 2018 Prices ending in 99 cents created a fortune for Mr. Gold. Adam Snitzer, miamiherald, "Why 9 is my favorite number," 12 July 2018 And Harriett’s husband, Hy — who’d made a fortune buying thousands of acres in south Orlando long before the boom years — had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Scott Maxwell,, "Harriett Lake: Orlando's grande dame of philanthropy was wry, witty and oh-so-generous," 11 July 2018 In court papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court and obtained by Page Six and New York Daily News on Thursday, Bourdain was reportedly worth $1.21 million despite reports of a $16 million fortune. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Anthony Bourdain's Will Reveals He Was Worth $1.2 Million, Leaves Majority of Estate to Daughter: Reports," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fortune.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fortune


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fortune

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin fortuna; akin to Latin fort-, fors chance, luck, and perhaps to ferre to carry — more at bear

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Statistics for fortune

Last Updated

24 May 2019

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Time Traveler for fortune

The first known use of fortune was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fortune



English Language Learners Definition of fortune

: a very large amount of money
somewhat formal : a great amount of money or possessions
: something that happens by chance


for·​tune | \ ˈfȯr-chən How to pronounce fortune (audio) \

Kids Definition of fortune

1 : a large sum of money
2 : what happens to a person : good or bad luck
3 : what is to happen to someone in the future I had my fortune told.
4 : wealth sense 1 They are a family of great fortune.

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Comments on fortune

What made you want to look up fortune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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