What does “fortune favors the bold” mean?

Discover the meaning and historical context of the proverb 'Fortune favors the bold', and how it encourages individuals to take risks, pursue their dreams, and potentially achieve success in life.

Understanding the Proverb

Fortune favors the bold is an idiomatic proverb that encourages individuals to take risks and be courageous.

It is a popular saying that has been used for centuries to inspire people to pursue their dreams and achieve success.

Definition and Interpretation

The meaning of the proverb is straightforward: those who are willing to take chances and be bold are more likely to succeed in life.

The phrase implies that fortune, or good luck, is more likely to come to those who are not afraid to take risks.

It suggests that those who play it safe and avoid taking chances may miss out on valuable opportunities.

Historical Context and Origin

The origins of the proverb can be traced back to ancient Rome, where it was first recorded in Latin as “audentes fortuna iuvat” or “fortis fortuna adiuvat”.

The phrase was used by the Roman poet Virgil and the playwright Terence in their works.

The phrase “fortune favors the brave” is a more precise and literal variation of Terence’s quote.

Are both “fortune favors the bold” and “everything is fair in love and war” saying the same thing about taking risks and being bold in pursuit of your goals?

“Fortune favors the bold” and “everything is fair in love and war” both convey the idea of taking risks and being bold in pursuit of your goals.

While the former emphasizes the potential rewards of boldness, the latter speaks to the intense and high-stakes nature of love and war as it relates to the definition of fairness in love and war.

Modern Usage and Variations

The proverb has been widely used in modern times and has become a popular saying in many cultures.

It is often used to encourage individuals to take risks and pursue their dreams.

The phrase has also been used in various forms in literature, movies, and music.

Example sentences:

  • She decided to quit her job and start her own business, believing that fortune favors the bold.
  • John was nervous about asking his boss for a raise, but he remembered that fortune favors the bold and decided to go for it.
  • The team took a big risk by investing in a new project, but they believed that fortune favors the bold.


  • No guts, no glory
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.