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Both or neither

Posted by TheFallen on January 15, 2003

In Reply to: Does fortune favor the bold or does it favor the brave? posted by Dave on January 15, 2003

: I have heard this saying uttered two different ways. Fortune favors the bold. Fortune favors the brave. Can someone please help me out with the origin, and let me know which one surfaced first?

The confusion with this phrase is that in its original form, it wasn't even in English. It appears in a number of L*tin texts dating from the first century BC, including Virgil's Aeneid - "Fortes fortuna adjuvat" - so it was clearly a well-known saying at that time.

I too have heard both the bold and the brave version, which is unsurprising, because it all depends upon how one chooses to tr*nslate "fortes". A brief Googlefight between the two possibles gave the following results:-

Fortune favors the bold - 1,990 hits
Fortune favours the bold - 830 hits

Fortune favors the brave - 1,670 hits
Fortune favours the brave - 1,650 hits

Although massively unscientific, the above would seem to show that both versions are entirely acceptable, with a slight preference towards the "bold" version in US English but contrarily with a marked prevalence towards the "brave" version in UK English.