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
References in periodicals archive ?
45 Wolverhampton SP forecast 5-2 Possibly unlucky at Lingfield last time, although that highlighted how she will always be a hostage to fortune around a bend and didn't appear to be crying out for this drop in trip.
RUGBY UNION By DUNCAN BECH WARREN GATLAND is to draw up a standby list for his British and Irish Lions, but he will keep its contents private so as to avoid becoming a hostage to fortune.
If those skills had been lost to an external provider, then our members' future terms, conditions and job security would have been at risk and the business would have been hostage to fortune for those lost skills.
WHEN Labour opened up its leadership election to anyone who was prepared to stump up PS3 and declare themselves a supporter, the party became a hostage to fortune.
He has pulled back from that stance though, and is now refusing to leave himself a hostage to fortune.
And while he fully intends to score regularly for the club he joined in January, he won't make himself a hostage to fortune by revealing his target total.
I want to point out that if any person is tempted to drive in anything like those circumstances, they are a hostage to fortune - they may kill themselves, they may kill somebody else," Mr Balmain said.
But he will also have feared what a hostage to fortune it could turn out to be.
That remark is as much a hostage to fortune as another retiring minister's message to his successor in May, that there was no money left.
There could be an element of hostage to fortune in being too pedantic about dates.
Fortunately, neither injury was serious, but Capello is aware he is a hostage to fortune between now and the end of the tournament.
Mrs Thatcher's much vaunted European rebate, which was not at all huge in the whole scheme of things, and only granted after our European partners became exasperated by her populist antics (and largely out of pity) merely created a hostage to fortune which has bedevilled our subsequent dealings.
Otherwise this deadline could turn out to be another hostage to fortune for Borissov himself.
THE SPL took on a new value last night when the Scottish game's flagship competition became a hostage to fortune in the kind of television drama no one wanted to see.
It was extraordinary that Beijing did not realize what a hostage to fortune this would be.