a hostage to fortune

hostage to fortune

An act or situation that could create future problems. A company that publicly supports an unpopular political stance often creates a hostage to fortune.
See also: fortune, hostage

a hostage to fortune

mainly BRITISH
If someone or something is a hostage to fortune, they have created a situation where bad things may happen to them in the future. Charles had already made himself a hostage to fortune by declaring that 30 was a suitable age to settle down. The proposals were regarded by some as a dangerous hostage to fortune. Note: You can also say that someone gives a hostage to fortune or creates a hostage to fortune if they do something that may cause trouble in the future. Despite persistent questioning, he gave no hostages to fortune in the form of a timetable. Note: Other verbs may be used instead of give or create. By opting for the best, the council recognises that it may have handed a hostage to fortune. Many departments may find it difficult to achieve the new standards that have been set for them. Note: This expression comes from an essay by Francis Bacon, `Of Marriage and Single Life' (1625): `He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.'
See also: fortune, hostage

a hostage to fortune

an act, commitment, or remark which is regarded as unwise because it invites trouble or could prove difficult to live up to.
The original hostages to fortune were a man's family, the allusion being to Francis Bacon's essay on marriage ( 1625 ): ‘He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune’.
See also: fortune, hostage

a ˌhostage to ˈfortune

an action which may cause you great trouble in the future: Are you really sure you want to know who your real mother is? It may be taking a hostage to fortune, you know.
See also: fortune, hostage