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

Definition of fortune

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a very large sum of money spent a fortune redecorating
b : riches, wealth a man of fortune
c : a store of material possessions the family fortune
2a : 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
3 : destiny, fate can tell your fortune also : a prediction of fortune
4 often capitalized : a hypothetical force or personified power that unpredictably determines events and issues favorably or unfavorably a country favored by fortune
5 obsolete : accident, incident


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

Noun 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 This makes sieges easier to withstand, but costs a fortune. The Economist, "Defending Switzerland’s coffee stockpile," 21 Nov. 2019 George Gund II inherited George Frederick Gund’s brewer and real estate fortune, and later went into banking, becoming the head of Cleveland Trust Co., Ohio’s largest bank. Roxanne Washington, cleveland, "Geoffrey Gund to retire from The George Gund Foundation after 43 years," 13 Nov. 2019 Despite its extraordinary fluctuations of fortune, France has never lost the attitude and vocation of a great power. Conrad Black, National Review, "A Post-Post-Cold-War NATO," 13 Nov. 2019 The recent political resurgence of her family in the Philippines (her son Bong Bong Marcos is currently contesting a loss in the country's 2016 vice presidential election) suggests her fortunes may once again be on the upswing. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Imelda Marcos, the Wife of a Filipino Dictator, Became an Icon of ’80s Excess," 4 Nov. 2019 Some female citizens managed huge fortunes, such as those that appear in epigrams by the first century poet Martial. National Geographic, "In ancient Rome, citizenship was the path to power," 4 Nov. 2019 The show cost a small fortune to produce -- in part because of the extensive music rights -- but yielded disappointing results, both creatively and commercially. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' joins wave of authorized musical bios," 3 Sep. 2019 Your fortunes are on the rise and you might be given an opportunity for advancement. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for Aug. 23, 2019: Gemini, speak from your heart; Capricorn, think about making key changes," 23 Aug. 2019 Since last summer, fortunes have changed as Los Angeles and Burbank hammered out deals, including Burbank teachers accepting a 1% raise for the 2018-19 school year in June. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Glendale teachers, Glendale Unified contract negotiations head into fall," 2 Aug. 2019

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 4


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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Time Traveler for fortune

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fortune

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fortune.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for fortune


How to pronounce fortune (audio)

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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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