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

Slavery still affects the fortunes of African Americans. The Courier-Journal, "In McConnell’s boyhood town where his family owned slaves, the reparations debate thrives," 13 July 2019 Rents are too high, property values are skyrocketing, and the fortunes of families who want to own a home in Colorado continue to become imperiled. Ian Silverii, The Denver Post, "Silverii: I thought we were better than this exclusionary growth limit, Lakewood," 12 July 2019 Marlantes hasn’t written an allegorical polemic about contemporary business — his primary concerns are the romantic fortunes of the siblings and the shifting fates of the workers. Mark Athitakis,, "Karl Marlantes pens another spirited epic, this time about immigrants, logging and labor," 11 July 2019 Bartleby feels passionate about his wife, the fortunes of England’s sports teams and the alarming notion that Boris Johnson might become his country’s prime minister. The Economist, "The absurd language used by job adverts," 11 July 2019 The shifting fortunes of his company have inspired him to rethink how a new form of globalism might work. Charlie Campbell/tianan, Time, "Foxconn Founder Terry Gou Wants to be Taiwan’s President—and a Go-Between for U.S. and China," 11 July 2019 Everyone who knew Eddie as a friend, or had the good fortune to share the stage with him, was touched by his gentle and generous nature. Ashley Boucher,, "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Actor Eddie Jones Dies at 84," 8 July 2019 Everyone who knew Eddie as a friend, or had the good fortune to share the stage with him, was touched by his gentle and generous nature. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Eddie Jones, Lois & Clark and A League of Their Own character actor, dies at 84," 8 July 2019 In truth, all of the fortunes of these prospects could change. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers owner asks for more patience. It's getting harder to accommodate him | Opinion," 5 July 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 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

19 Jul 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 complain fretfully

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