I have a piece of exercise requesting me to make sentences about a businessman's changing fortunes. There are some of these sentences:

Alexander won a small fortune in a casino when his luck was good. Alexander lost a fortune in a business that went bankrupt.

I think that the two fortune in these two sentences mean an amount of money, but I don't think fortunes means amounts of money in the phrase changing fortunes. I've seen a lot of news' titles contain changing fortunes and there are even a book named this phrase. What does it mean in the request of my homework?

  • Sorry I can't get your point.
    – Meow
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


You're correct to think that lost a fortune and a small fortune are referring to wealth.

Changing fortune refers to the following definition:

The success or failure of a person or enterprise over a period of time.

Therefore, by changing their fortunes, the person or business is changing the successfulness of their business. I don't think I've ever seen it used to mean decrease the successfulness, it usually implies a positive result.


Yes, "he lost a fortune" and "he earned a fortune (e.g. from his various businesses)" speaks about large amounts of money.

But it also has a meaning of "The turns of luck in the course of one's life" (American Heritage dictionary)

E. g. it's possible to say:

His fortune turned.

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