fortune


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Related to fortune: fortune teller, horoscope, Fortune 500

give hostage to fortune

To do or say something that could jeopardize future success or cause misfortune later on. With the economy at such a precarious level at the moment, the president made it clear that he would take no action that would give hostage to fortune.
See also: fortune, give, hostage

fortune is smiling (up)on (someone)

Someone is especially lucky, fortunate, or successful; good things tend to happen to someone. I hear that Jenny just won some major award, so soon after her huge promotion. It seems that fortune is smiling on her at the moment! Fortune has been smiling upon my younger brother since he was little: things have just always worked out for the best for him.
See also: fortune, smile

fortune smiles (up)on someone

Someone is especially lucky, fortunate, or successful; good things tend to happen to someone. I hear that Jenny just won some major award, so soon after her huge promotion. It seems that fortune smiles on her at the moment! If you're going into business for yourself, just remember that fortune smiles upon those who are willing to take risks.
See also: fortune, smile

tell (someone's) fortune

To (profess to) anticipate and inform someone about certain outcomes or events in their near or distant future. This old lady in the apartment next to mine offered to tell my fortune for ten bucks. I never go in for stuff like that, but I'll admit that I'm a bit curious.
See also: fortune, tell

tell fortunes

To (profess to) anticipate, and inform about, future outcomes or see what future events will take place. There's this old lady in the apartment next to mine who tells fortunes for ten bucks. I never go in for stuff like that, but I'll admit that I'm a bit curious.
See also: fortune, tell

the wheel of fortune

The incidental, unforeseen, or random occurrences of life. (Alludes to the wheel that the goddess Fortune was believed to spin, which determined the fate in a person's life.) There's no knowing how this whole thing will pan out—we just have to leave it up to the wheel of fortune.
See also: fortune, of, wheel

fortune favors the bold

Courageous action is often rewarded. The phrase encourages people to do what scares them. A variation is "fortune favors the brave." I know you're nervous about asking for a raise, but keep in mind that fortune favors the bold—you'll never get anything if you don't ask for it. I decided to ask out the most popular girl in school because fortune favors the bold, right?
See also: bold, favor, 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

small fortune

A large amount of money. I had to spend a small fortune to get my car repaired after the transmission started slipping.
See also: fortune, small

soldier of fortune

1. A soldier who serves the person or organization paying them, rather than their country; a mercenary. Although the nation only had a small population, it boosted the size of its army by hiring soldiers of fortune.
2. A person who seeks adventure or military engagement for money, pleasure, or fame. The novel depicts a soldier of fortune who risks his life for notoriety.
See also: fortune, of, soldier

stroke of fortune

An unexpected fortunate occurrence. Meeting my favorite celebrity at the airport was certainly a stroke of fortune that wouldn't have happened if I'd arrived five minutes later. I worked very hard on the script, but getting to pitch it to the producer in the elevator was just a stroke of fortune.
See also: fortune, of, stroke

every man is the architect of his own fortune

One's own behavior dictates the course of one's life. Well, every man is the architect of his own fortune, so if your job is making you miserable, find a new one.
See also: every, fortune, man, of, own

come into (some) money

 and come into a (small) fortune
to get some money unexpectedly, usually by inheritance. She came into a lot of money when she turned twenty. I hope I can come into some money some day.
See also: come, money

Every man is the architect of his own fortune.

Prov. Your own decisions and your own actions determine what your life will be like. The teacher told us, "If you work hard, you can become whatever you want. Every man is the architect of his own fortune." You shouldn't blame other people for your problems. Every man is the architect of his own fortune.
See also: every, fortune, man, of, own

Fortune favors the brave.

 and Fortune favors the bold.
Prov. You will have good luck if you carry out your plans boldly. (Used to encourage people to have the courage to carry out their plans.) Fortune favors the bold, Bob. Quit your day job and work on your novel full-time. Jill: Let's wait till next year before trying to start our own business. Jane: No. We'll do it this year. Fortune favors the brave.
See also: brave, favor, fortune

small fortune

a rather sizeable amount of money. This set of wheels cost me a small fortune. I've got a small fortune tied up in test equipment.
See also: fortune, small

make a fortune

Also, make a small fortune. Earn a great deal of money, as in He made a fortune on the stock market. Similar expressions are be worth a fortune or small fortune , as in Now that their parents have died, they're worth a small fortune. Make a fortune dates from about 1700, and its use with small from the second half of the 1800s.
See also: fortune, make

a small fortune

COMMON A small fortune is a very large amount of money. For almost two years, Hawkins made a small fortune running a drugstore. Sharon didn't know much about antiques, but the lamps alone were probably worth a small fortune.
See also: fortune, small

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

fortune favours the brave

a successful person is often one who is willing to take risks. proverb
See also: brave, favour, fortune

the fortunes of war

the unpredictable events of war.
See also: fortune, of, war

a small fortune

a large amount of money. informal
See also: fortune, small

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

soldier of fortune

an adventurous person ready to take service under any person or state in return for money; a mercenary.
See also: fortune, of, soldier

the wheel of Fortune

the wheel which the goddess Fortune is said to turn as a symbol of random luck or change.
See also: fortune, of, wheel

fortune ˈsmiles on somebody

a person is lucky and successful: At first, fortune smiled on him and the business was successful.
See also: fortune, on, smile, somebody

make a ˈfortune

make a lot of money: He made a fortune buying and selling nineteenth-century paintings.
See also: fortune, make

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

seek your ˈfortune

(literary) try to find a way to become rich, especially by going to another place: At the age of twenty, he decided to emigrate and seek his fortune in Canada. ▶ ˈfortune seeker noun
See also: fortune, seek

a ˌsmall ˈfortune

(informal) a lot of money: This house cost hardly anything when we bought it, but now it’s worth a small fortune.
See also: fortune, small

try (one's) fortune

To make an effort or take a risk to be successful, especially as a newcomer.
See also: fortune, try
References in classic literature ?
And this delay, which is indefensible, was his second step into the snares of fortune.
You only intend, then, to dispose of that part of your fortune which the law allows you to subtract from the inheritance of your son?
For it doth upbraid unto them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note of others; and envy ever redoubleth from speech and fame.
Above all, those are most subject to envy, which carry the greatness of their fortunes, in an insolent and proud manner; being never well, but while they are showing how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by triumphing over all opposition or competition; whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering themselves sometimes of purpose to be crossed, and overborne in things that do not much concern them.
said the Fortune, when his struggles had ceased and his screams were stilled.
I am wealth; I am respectability," the Fortune explained; "I am elegant houses, a yacht, and a clean shirt every day.
As good fortune would have it, the three men in my party were not drinkers.
Some are born to fortune, and some have fortune thrust upon them.
You haven't told my fortune," protested Cecily disappointedly.
I couldn't tell any fortune half good enough for you, dearest," she said, slipping her arm round Cecily.
And this in many degrees; the last and greatest of which seems scarce distinguishable from madness;--I mean where persons of immense fortunes contract themselves to those who are, and must be, disagreeable to them--to fools and knaves--in order to increase an estate already larger even than the demands of their pleasures.
Besides this, I observed that the men made no scruple to set themselves out, and to go a-fortunehunting, as they call it, when they had really no fortune themselves to demand it, or merit to deserve it; and that they carried it so high, that a woman was scarce allowed to inquire after the character or estate of the person that pretended to her.
She stepped at once into the politest and best circles, and I stepped into a fortune which I assure you was very necessary to my comfort--quite indispensable.
It was at this time that Mr Pancks, in discharge of his compact with Clennam, revealed to him the whole of his gipsy story, and told him Little Dorrit's fortune.
Nevertheless, if we look through all the heroic fortunes of mankind, we shall find this same entanglement of something mean and trivial with whatever is noblest in joy or sorrow.