Ask Difference

Lucky vs. Fortunate — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 8, 2024
"Lucky" implies a positive outcome due to chance, while "fortunate" suggests being blessed with good fortune, often with an implication of gratitude or a sense of being favored by circumstances.
Lucky vs. Fortunate — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lucky and Fortunate


Key Differences

"Lucky" is often used to describe situations or outcomes that seem to be influenced by luck or chance, without necessarily implying any underlying reason or cause. For instance, finding money on the street could be considered a lucky occurrence. "Fortunate," on the other hand, carries a connotation of having received some form of good fortune, possibly due to fate, destiny, or the benevolence of external factors, and it often implies a sense of gratitude. For example, surviving a natural disaster unscathed might be described as being fortunate.
While both terms are associated with positive outcomes, "lucky" typically emphasizes the randomness and unpredictability of the positive outcome. In contrast, "fortunate" can imply that the positive outcome is not just due to random chance but also possibly due to one's favorable position, circumstances, or even wise decisions.
The use of "lucky" often highlights the immediate, serendipitous nature of an event, suggesting that it could have easily gone another way. Conversely, being "fortunate" may suggest a broader context, such as being born into a supportive family or living in a peaceful country, which contributes to an individual's overall well-being or success.
In terms of emotional connotation, calling someone "lucky" can sometimes carry a hint of envy or the idea that they didn't necessarily deserve the good outcome. Calling someone "fortunate," however, tends to be more neutral or positive, reflecting a recognition of the good in someone's life without necessarily diminishing their role in achieving it.
Both "lucky" and "fortunate" can be used interchangeably in casual conversation, but their subtle differences can convey distinct nuances in meaning, especially in more thoughtful or reflective discussions about the nature of success, well-being, and the role of chance in life.

Comparison Chart


Emphasis on chance and serendipity
Suggests a sense of gratitude and favorable conditions


Randomness, lack of control
Possibly a result of favorable circumstances or wise decisions

Emotional Tone

Can imply envy or undeserved success
More neutral or positive, with a sense of appreciation


Often used for specific, serendipitous events
Can imply broader, overall well-being or advantageous position


Often used interchangeably but with subtle differences in nuance
Generally interchangeable, with a more reflective or thoughtful tone

Compare with Definitions


Having good fortune by chance.
She felt lucky to have found the last available ticket.


Favored by or involving good luck or fortune.
She was fortunate to have been born into a loving family.


Resulting in unexpected benefit.
His lucky guess won him the quiz competition.


Enjoying good fortune or prosperity.
The fortunate individuals were able to donate generously to the cause.


Favorably disposed by chance circumstances.
They were lucky that the weather cleared up for their picnic.


Characterized by good success or outcomes.
Their venture turned out to be more fortunate than they had anticipated.


Fortunate in having a particular benefit or opportunity.
He was lucky to have such supportive friends.


Benefiting from a particular advantage or blessing.
They were fortunate to live in a time of peace.


Marked by good fortune or fortunate coincidences.
The lucky coin he carried was a gift from his grandmother.


Marked by favorable circumstances or good luck.
It was fortunate that the emergency services arrived so quickly.


Having or attended by good luck.


"Fortunate" is a neo soul song from the 1999 motion picture Life and was released on the film's soundtrack. The song was written, composed, produced and arranged by R. Kelly and recorded by Maxwell.


Believed to bring good luck
Hoped to draw a lucky number.


Favoured by or involving good luck; lucky
She'd been fortunate to escape serious injury
It was fortunate that the weather was good


(of people) Favoured by luck; fortunate; having good success or good fortune.
A lucky adventurer
The downed pilot is very lucky to be alive.


Bringing something good and unforeseen; auspicious.


Producing, or resulting in, good fortune
A lucky mistake
A lucky cast
A lucky hour


Having unexpected good fortune; lucky.


(bingo) seven


One who has good fortune, especially a wealthy person.


Favored by luck; fortunate; meeting with good success or good fortune; - said of persons; as, a lucky adventurer.


It is a fortunate sign if the sun shines on a newly wedded couple.


Producing, or resulting in, good by chance, or unexpectedly; favorable; auspicious; fortunate; as, a lucky mistake; a lucky cast; a lucky hour.
We doubt not of a fair and lucky war.


Happening by good luck or favorable chance.
Patrick was the unlikely match-winner as Berkeley earned a fortunate victory over Chisolm.


Blessed with good fortune;
Considered himself lucky that the tornado missed his house
A lucky guess


Favored by fortune.
We were fortunate not to be fined for speeding.
This is a time when we think of those less fortunate than ourselves.


Having or bringing good fortune;
My lucky day


Coming by good luck or favorable chance; bringing some good thing not foreseen as certain; presaging happiness; auspicious; as, a fortunate event; a fortunate concurrence of circumstances; a fortunate investment.


Tending to favor or bring good luck;
Miracles are auspicious accidents
Encouraging omens
A favorable time to ask for a raise
Lucky stars
A prosperous moment to make a decision


Receiving same unforeseen or unexpected good, or some good which was not dependent on one's own skill or efforts; favored with good forune; lucky.


Having unexpected good fortune;
Other, less fortunate, children died
A fortunate choice


Supremely favored or fortunate;
Golden lads and girls all must / like chimney sweepers come to dust


Presaging good fortune;
She made a fortunate decision to go to medical school
Rosy predictions

Common Curiosities

What does it mean to be lucky?

Being lucky means experiencing positive outcomes or finding oneself in favorable situations by chance or coincidence.

What does it mean to be fortunate?

Being fortunate implies experiencing positive circumstances, often with an underlying sense of gratitude or recognition of being blessed by one's situation.

How do cultural perceptions affect the interpretation of luck and fortune?

Cultural background can significantly influence how individuals perceive and value luck and fortune, with some cultures placing more emphasis on personal effort and others on fate or destiny.

Is being fortunate always due to external factors?

While often associated with external circumstances, being fortunate can also relate to internal factors, such as resilience or a positive outlook that contributes to one's sense of well-being.

How should one respond to luck or fortune?

Responding with gratitude and humility can enhance personal well-being and social relationships, recognizing the role of external factors in one's achievements while also acknowledging personal effort and skill.

Can one influence their luck or fortune?

While luck by definition involves chance, individuals can position themselves to be more receptive to opportunities, potentially increasing their chances of experiencing what might be perceived as luck or fortune.

Do lucky charms or rituals actually affect one's luck?

While there's no scientific evidence that lucky charms or rituals influence outcomes, they can boost confidence or provide psychological comfort, which might indirectly affect one's decisions and actions.

Is it better to be lucky or skillful?

While luck can offer unexpected advantages, skills are generally more reliable and within one's control, contributing to consistent success over time.

Can someone be lucky without being fortunate?

While the terms are closely related, someone might be considered lucky in a specific, chance event without necessarily being fortunate in a broader, more substantial sense.

How do luck and fortune relate to success?

Luck and fortune can play roles in achieving success, but they are often just part of a broader mix of factors, including effort, talent, and determination.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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