befriend someone's fortunes

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mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
Lafeu, who came to fetch him, tried to comfort the countess for the loss of her late lord, and her son’s sudden absence; and he said, in a courtier’s flattering manner, that the king was so kind a prince, she would find in his majesty a husband, and that he would be a father to her son; meaning only, that the good king would befriend the fortunes of Bertram.

Tales From Shakespeare by Charles Lamb

Does 'befriend someone's fortunes' mean take good care of someone?

Please help. Thank you.
 
  • Jason_2_toi

    Senior Member
    English-Scotland
    If one wants to be exact,

    you don't really befriend someone's fortunes, you would befriend a person and take care of them, look out for them.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello mia

    I think this is an old-fashioned use of "befriend".

    The (big) OED definition of "befriend" (first published in 1887 and not yet fully updated) is
    1. trans. To act as a friend to, to help, favour; to assist, promote, further.

    Today, we usually use "befriend" in the 'act as a friend to...' sense. In the Lamb text (written in 1807) it has the 'promote/further' meaning.
     
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