Difference Between Luck and Fortune

Key Difference – Luck vs Fortune

Luck and fortune are two words that often go together and interpreted as one and the same by most people. This is mainly because the two words can easily be associated with chance. Chance highlights a sense of possibility that can have either a positive impact or even a negative impact. However, it must be stressed that there exists a key difference between luck and fortune. Luck is something that takes place as a result of chance, unlike fortune which affects people’s lives in the form of an external power. This article attempts to clarify the difference between these two words with examples.

What is Luck?

Let us begin with the word luck. Luck can be understood as circumstances that operate for or against an individual. The concept of luck can be further categorized into two sections as,

  1. Good Luck
  2. Bad luck

Good luck is associated with chances or circumstances that work for the individual such as winning a lottery. Bad luck is associated with circumstances that work against the individual such as missing a wonderful career opportunity. The key factor is that luck is purely a result of chance and not a result of individual effort. Let us take the earlier example of winning the lottery. The success that the individual gains, is not a result of his efforts but as a result of circumstances.

Now let us examine some examples.

She wore the necklace for luck.

You are very lucky to have such a wonderful brother.

If it is not luck, I don’t know what it is.

They say it is bad luck to see a black cat.

Key Difference - Luck vs Fortune

What is Fortune?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word fortune in the following manner. It equates fortune to chance as a force affecting people’s lives. Here it must be highlighted that in this context the word is used to refer to an external power that can have an impact on the individual. The word fortune is much more formal that the work luck.

Fortune is also categorized into two sub sections.

  1. Good fortune
  2. Misfortune

Good fortune is the positive aspect whereas misfortune is the negative aspect. Let us look at some examples now.

He was the sole heir to a large fortune.

You are fortunate to have survived such a terrible incident.

We heard of his misfortune.

They were in awe of his fortune.

As the examples highlight, the word fortune can also be used to refer to material success that a person has.

Difference Between Luck and Fortune

Fortuna, the Goddess of Fortune

What is the difference between Luck and Fortune?

Definitions of Luck and Fortune:

Luck: Luck refers to circumstances that operate for or against an individual.

Fortune: Fortune is chance as a force affecting people’s lives.

Characteristics of Luck and Fortune:


Luck: Luck is a result of chance.

Fortune: Fortune is a result of external powers.


Luck: Luck is used informally.

Fortune: Fortune is mostly used as a formal term.


Luck: Lucky is the adjective.

Fortune: Fortunate is the adjective.


Luck: Luck consists of two categories as good luck and bad luck.

Fortune: Fortune consists of two categories as good fortune and misfortune.


Image Courtesy:

1. Stone Dice 17 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Tomisfortuna2 By Cristian Chirita – Own work, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons