(plural fortunes)

1 .Destiny or fate. She will read your fortuneҬI read about my fortunes in the magazine. Apparently I will have a good love life this week, but I will have a bad week for money.

2. A prediction or set of predictions about a person’s future provided by a fortune teller.

3 A  small slip of paper with wise or vaguely prophetic words printed on it, baked into a fortune cookie.

4. A chance.

5. Good luck. Fortune favors the brave.“¨Landing the manager’s job was more down to good fortune than skill.

6. One’s wealth; the amount of money one has; especially, if it is vast. He’s amassed a small fortune working in the Middle East.“¨  My vast fortune was a result of inheritance and stock market nous.“¨Her fortune is estimated at 3 million dollars.

7. A large amount of money That car must be worth a fortune! How could you afford it?



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

c.1300, “chance, luck as a force in human affairs,” from O.Fr. fortune “lot, good fortune, misfortune” (12c.), from L. fortuna “chance, fate, good luck,” from fors (gen. fortis) “chance, luck,” possibly from PIE *bhrtu- and related to base *bher- (1) “to carry.” Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Sense of “owned wealth” first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of “one’s condition or standing in life,” hence “position as determined by wealth,” then “wealth” itself. Soldier of fortune first attested 1660s. Fortune 500 “most profitable American companies” is 1955, from the list published annually in “Fortune” magazine.

Societal Evolution

Society’s current use of this word is far beyond the original meaning.  Fortune was never intended to apply to cold hard cash. “For-toon” was originally a sacred word and should return to that root meaning.  The idea that only people with excessive amounts of money are lucky is transparent and false.  We need to stop measuring bank accounts when it comes to “for-toon.”  Fortune was meant for love and other creative ideals, not destructive ideals like greed.  Materialism has ushered in a desire to own objects as more important than love.  All too often, our lives are guided by fortune instead of “for-toon.”  You will not find “for-toon” locked away in Fort Knox or any bank vaults.  “For-toon” is always with you, you just need to learn how to summon it.  The next time you hear a bird sing, or a child laugh; or watch waves crashing on the shore, or feel a cool breeze on your cheek, you will realize that you are very fortunate.


By January

January Kerr studied government and legal theory at Lafayette College. She earned her law degree, cum laude from the New York Law School. After a decade of practicing securities litigation, she decided to focus her life on raising a family. It was through the birth of her daughter that her creative fire was rekindled and she rediscovered her passion for writing and philosophy.

Ms. Kerr writes creative non-fiction and focuses on post modern feminist thought and esoteric philosophy. Her writing is further characterized by metaphysical connections and transcendental thought. Through etymology (study of word orgin), epistemology (study of knowledge) and metaphysics (study of nature of being), she hunts through the past to explain the present and gleam the future.

6 replies on “Fortune”

To be honest, I’d feel pretty fortunate if I could just pay my bills.

Also, if everyone in the world is “fortunate”, that destroys the original meaning of the word, which was to be lucky or favoured. Not everyone can be lucky; that’s sort of the point.

True.  But it can be argued that because we are breathing, we are fortunate.  Thus, all of us are fortunate to be here.  The notion that fortune only shines on certain people may be popular, but it’s not the law.  When you consider yourself fortunate, you attract more fortune.    We can all have fortune but it must be measured, from moment to moment, in the grander scheme of life.

It can be argued that, sure, but this isn’t an post about opinions; this is a post about etymology. It seems to me that you’ve let your opinion way exceed your grasp of etymology. I can promise you that the Romans did not view the concept of “fortunate” in the same way that you do, or the way that “society” does.

All my etymology posts have a “societal evolution” section to track where the word has come from and where it may be going.  These sections are helpful in tracking what “society” deems important and what it has chosen covet at this point in time.  And yes, my opinion always finds it way here.

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