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.
    – Thanhgiang
    Jan 29 '18 at 14:14

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.