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Luck vs. Fortune: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 16, 2023
Luck refers to chance events or circumstances, while fortune can mean either chance events or a large amount of wealth or prosperity.

Key Differences

Luck is a momentary event or series of events seen as occurring by chance. Fortune, meanwhile, can be long-term luck or refer to someone's overall condition in life, especially concerning wealth.
Luck often implies an unpredictable and uncontrollable force affecting one's outcomes, be they good or bad. Fortune, while also related to unpredictability, leans more towards destiny or fate.
Luck can be either good or bad, depending on the outcome. Fortune, on the other hand, usually implies a favorable outcome or a substantial amount of wealth or success.
Luck is generally viewed as fleeting, affecting specific instances. Fortune may influence a broader scope of one's life, shaping an individual's overall circumstances.
Phrases like "push your luck" emphasize chance, while "fortune favors the bold" suggests destiny or fate combined with effort.

Comparison Chart


Chance events
Chance events or wealth


Can be positive or negative
Often positive or referring to wealth


Momentary or short-term
Can be long-term


Unpredictable and uncontrollable
Can be seen as destiny or fate

Use in Expressions

"Bad luck," "Luck of the draw"
"Fortune favors the bold," "Amass a fortune"

Luck and Fortune Definitions


The force that causes things to happen by chance.
Winning the lottery was sheer luck.


A large sum of money or valuable possessions.
She inherited a large fortune.


An unknown and unpredictable phenomenon.
They met by luck in the park.


The outcome or future of someone or something.
The fortune of the village rested on the harvest.


A successful outcome from chance.
With some luck, we'll finish on time.


Luck, especially good luck.
He made his fortune in real estate.


Good fortune or prosperity.
They had the luck to escape injury.


Fate or destiny.
They believed it was their fortune to be together.


Favorable or auspicious circumstance.
His project succeeded with a bit of luck.


A prediction or prophecy.
The fortune teller predicted great success for him.


The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events; fortune
They met one day out of pure luck.


The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events; luck
He decided to travel, and his fortune turned for the worse.


Good fortune or prosperity; success
We wish you luck.


Fortunes The turns of luck in the course of one's life.


Is it correct to say "bad fortune?"

While not as common, it can be used but often implies a significant negative turn in life.

Can effort influence one's fortune?

While fortune often refers to fate, effort and actions can shape outcomes, as in "fortune favors the bold."

How do games of chance relate to luck?

They rely on luck as outcomes are unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Is luck entirely out of human control?

While luck pertains to chance events, human decisions and actions can influence outcomes in many situations.

Can fortune refer to one's destiny?

Yes, fortune can refer to one's fate or predetermined path.

Can fortune be inherited?

Yes, especially when referring to wealth or property.

Is "luck of the draw" about fairness?

It means outcomes are determined purely by chance, without any control or bias.

Can one be born with bad luck?

It's a belief some hold, but luck is generally seen as unpredictable and varying.

Can someone be described as fortunate without wealth?

Yes, "fortunate" can refer to favorable circumstances or good luck, not just wealth.

Is luck tangible?

No, luck is an abstract concept referring to chance events.

Can one "run out of luck?"

It's an idiom meaning a streak of good luck has ended.

Do all cultures view fortune similarly?

Different cultures have varied beliefs and views on destiny, luck, and fortune.

How does "turn of fortune" relate to change?

It means a significant change in one's circumstances, usually for the better.

Is luck always positive?

No, luck can be either good or bad based on the outcome.

Can someone "make their own fortune?"

Yes, it means someone can shape their destiny or accumulate wealth through effort.

How is "lucky charm" related to luck?

A "lucky charm" is an item believed to bring good luck to its holder.

Can one's fortune change quickly?

Yes, especially when referring to rapidly changing circumstances or sudden wealth.

Is there a connection between luck and superstition?

Yes, many superstitions revolve around attracting good luck or warding off bad luck.

How is a "fortune cookie" related to fortune?

A "fortune cookie" contains a slip with a prediction or piece of wisdom, suggesting a glimpse into one's fortune.

What's the origin of "a stroke of good fortune?"

It means a significant or unexpected event of good luck or prosperity.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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