Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Chance or luck as a power in human affairs, often personified (Fortune) as a goddess; the word comes (in Middle English, via Old French) from Latin Fortuna, the name of a goddess personifying luck or chance. Fortune's emblem, the wheel of Fortune), indicates mutability.

fortune cookie a small biscuit containing a slip of paper with a prediction or motto written on it, served in Chinese restaurants.

fortune favours fools proverbial saying, mid 16th century, expressing the same idea as fools for luck.

fortune favours the brave a person who acts bravely is likely to be successful. The saying is recorded in English from the late 14th century, but the same idea is found in the Roman writer Ennius (239–169bc), ‘fortune is given to the bold’, and the poet Virgil (70–19bc), ‘fortune aids the bold.’

Fortune 500 in the US, trademark term for an annual list of the five hundred largest US industrial corporations, as measured by gross income.

see also every man is the architect of his own fortune, soldier of fortune, wheel of Fortune.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.