- fortune (n.)
- c.1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly ultimately from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry" (see infer). If so, the sense might be "that which is brought."
Sense of "owned wealth" is first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth, large estate" itself. Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Soldier of fortune first attested 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine. Fortune-hunter "one who seeks to marry for wealth" is from 1680s.