from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events; luck.
  • noun The turns of luck in the course of one's life.
  • noun Success, especially when at least partially resulting from luck.
  • noun A person's condition or standing in life determined by material possessions or financial wealth.
  • noun Extensive amounts of material possessions or money; wealth.
  • noun A large sum of money.
  • noun A hypothetical, often personified force or power that favorably or unfavorably governs the events of one's life.
  • noun Fate; destiny.
  • noun A foretelling of one's destiny.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To endow with wealth.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To ascribe or give good or bad fortune to.
  • intransitive verb To occur by chance; happen.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Chance; hap; luck; fate.
  • noun Chance personified; the events or circumstances of life antecedent to some result attributed to their working, more or less consciously personified and regarded as a divinity which metes out happiness and unhappiness, and distributes arbitrarily or capriciously the lots of life.
  • noun That which falls to one as his portion in life or in any particular proceeding; the course of events as affecting condition or state; circumstances; lot: often in the plural: as, good or bad fortune; to share one's fortunes.
  • noun Specifically, good luck; prosperity; success.
  • noun Estate; possessions; especially, when used absolutely, large estate; wealth: as, he married a lady of fortune.
  • noun A person of wealth; especially, a marriageable heir or heiress.
  • noun In astrology, one of the fortunate planets: namely, Jupiter, Venus, the sun, the moon, and Mercury.
  • To determine the fate or chance of; fix or control the lot or fortune of; dispose of.
  • To foretell the fortune or lot of; presage.
  • To endow with wealth or fortune.
  • To befall; fall out; happen; chance; come to pass casually.
  • To come by chance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To fall out; to happen.
  • transitive verb obsolete To make fortunate; to give either good or bad fortune to.
  • transitive verb To provide with a fortune.
  • transitive verb obsolete To presage; to tell the fortune of.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which befalls or is to befall one; lot in life, or event in any particular undertaking; fate; destiny.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Wealth; large possessions; large estate; riches.
  • noun a book supposed to reveal future events to those who consult it.
  • noun one who seeks to acquire wealth by marriage.
  • noun one who professes to tell future events in the life of another.
  • noun the practice or art of professing to reveal future events in the life of another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Destiny or fate.
  • noun A prediction or set of predictions about a person's future provided by a fortune teller.
  • noun A small slip of paper with wise or vaguely prophetic words printed on it, baked into a fortune cookie.
  • noun A chance.
  • noun Good luck.
  • noun One's wealth; the amount of money one has; especially, if it is vast.
  • noun A large amount of money.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a large amount of wealth or prosperity
  • noun an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another
  • noun an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favorable outcome
  • noun your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fortūna; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin fortuna ("fate, luck"). The plural form fortunae meant  ("possessions"), which also gave fortune the meaning of  ("riches").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word fortune.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Must I confess that Charles—that libertine, that extravagant, that bankrupt in fortune and reputation—that he it is for whom I am thus anxious and malicious, and to gain whom I would sacrifice every thing?

    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 5, 2008

  • “It is easy at any moment to surrender a large fortune; to build one up is a difficult and an arduous task.�?

    - Titus Livius

    July 26, 2009