Fortune favors the bold

From the Latin 'Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat'

“Fortune favors the bold” is a proverb that encourages one to push the limits of what they can do. The more risky, the more likely it is to succeed. 

E.g. He decided to take a risk and pursue his dreams, for fortune favors the bold.

The proverb dates back to Ancient Rome and the works of authors like Terence. It’s unclear who used the phrase first, but today it’s incredibly well-known and widespread. It can be found in numerous languages, like Spanish, French, and Italian, in countries around the world. For many, “fortune favors the bold” serves as a slogan or source of inspiration. 

Fortune favors the bold meaning


“Fortune favors the bold” is one of a few English translations of a Latin proverb. It suggests that by acting boldly or without hesitation, one is more likely to succeed.

The proverb mentions “Fortune,” personifying the force as though it’s a real force in the world with the ability to choose who it wants to favor. By looking out over the world and everyone’s actions, Fortune can see who it wants to bless. Those who are bold, the proverb suggests, are more likely to be chosen. This is likely related to their strength, courage, and willingness to take chances. People who embody these character traits are more interesting (in the realm of the proverb) and therefore more likely to succeed under Fortune’s grace. 


The phrase “fortune favors the bold” is an old one. It exists in slightly different forms but dates back to at least 170-160 BC with the production of Terence or Publius Terentius Afer’s plays. He was a Roman African playwright who worked during the Roman Republic. The proverb appeared in his play, Phormio. It also features in the works of Virgil and other Roman poets and playwrights. 

There are several different versions of the phrase. They include:

  • Fortune favors the brave. 
  • Fortune favors the strong. 

Another famous iteration of the phrase is found in the works of Pliny the Younger, who quotes his uncle, Pliny the Elder, as using the phrase when he went to Pompeii to investigate the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. 

Today, iterations of the phrase can be found around the world. It appears on family crests as slogans for teams, businesses, and more. 

When To Use “Fortune favors the bold”

It’s possible to use “fortune favors the bold” in a wide variety of situations. It can be used among friends, family members, close colleagues, and even in more formal situations. The phrase can be inspirational and encouraging when it comes t pushing someone to do their best or to take a needed chance. For example, imagine one friend using the phrase to encourage another to apply for a seemingly out-of-reach job, ask out a man or woman who seems out of their league, and more. These situations are common, and it would be quite easy to use the phrase “fortune favors the bold” when discussing them. It might, if used appropriately, inspire someone to step outside their comfort zone just enough to be more successful than they otherwise would’ve been. 

Example Sentences

  • You know what they say, fortune favors the bold! 
  • If you don’t try, you won’t know! Fortune always favors the bold. 
  • He told me that fortune favors the bold and I decided to take a chance. 
  • You know what? I’m going to try it, fortune favors the bold after all! 

Why Do Writers Use “Fortune favors the bold?”

Writers use “fortune favors the bold” in the same way and for the same reasons that people use the phrase in everyday conversations. It’s possible to incorporate it into a dialogue between two characters. For example, if one character is seeking to encourage the other to take a risk in their life. This could be something fairly mundane like buying a house, trying out for a competition, or asking a man/woman out on a date. Or, it could be used in a more dramatic, fantastical situation. Imagine, for example, a character in a fantasy novel using the phrase to encourage their companion to fight a battle or rescue a character they love. 


Why do people say “fortune favors the bold?” 

People say “fortune favors the bold” when they want to inspire someone to take a risk or push the limits of what they can do. It’s often used between friends and colleagues when one person needs to do something different or is tempted to try something very new and needs a little bit of encouragement. 

Does fortune favor the bold? 

For some, it seems that fortune favors the bold. Or, more simply, it favors those who take risks. Those who are more willing to push the boundaries of their field or in their personal life are sometimes more likely to succeed. 

What is “fortune favors the bold” in Latin? 

There are several different translations of this phrase. Including: “audentes Fortuna iuvat,” “audentes Fortuna adiuvat,” and “Fortuna audaces iuvat.” They all generally mean the same thing. 

Related Proverbs 

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