Definition of hostage to fortune in English:

hostage to fortune


  • An undertaking or remark seen as unwise because it invites trouble or could prove difficult to live up to.

    ‘making objectives explicit is to give a hostage to fortune’
    • ‘There is no point in producing a blog if it is not honest and open but politicians are wary beasts because we are all hostages to fortune and we don't want to give our opponents ammunition.’
    • ‘They might pass something that proves an electoral liability or makes a minister a hostage to fortune.’
    • ‘Statues, like wives and children, are hostages to fortune; they inspire superstitious dread while their originals are in power, and an equally superstitious hatred when they lose the aura of power.’
    • ‘Promises made in the heat of an election campaign all too often create hostages to fortune.’
    • ‘This brave statement may yet prove to be a hostage to fortune.’
    • ‘These are just early signs and it would be giving hostages to fortune to suggest that suddenly everything is back fully on track in terms of global growth.’
    • ‘Nobody who has been an MP for 12 years and a front-bencher for eight can be unaware of the risks involved in handing hostages to fortune.’
    • ‘There's no point in giving hostages to fortune, is there?’
    • ‘In essence, the manifesto which evolved during the 1990s was a pragmatic statement of radical intent which went out of its way to remove the more obvious hostages to fortune which were never going to be implemented anyway.’
    • ‘The coalition which will form the new government will almost certainly have to give a number of hostages to fortune if it is to get there.’