follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

chance

[chans, chahns] /tʃæns, tʃɑns/
noun
1.
the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency:
Chance governs all.
2.
luck or fortune:
a game of chance.
3.
a possibility or probability of anything happening:
a fifty-percent chance of success.
4.
an opportune or favorable time; opportunity:
Now is your chance.
5.
Baseball. an opportunity to field the ball and make a put-out or assist.
6.
a risk or hazard:
Take a chance.
7.
a share or ticket in a lottery or prize drawing:
The charity is selling chances for a dollar each.
8.
chances, probability:
The chances are that the train hasn't left yet.
9.
Midland and Southern U.S. a quantity or number (usually followed by of).
10.
Archaic. an unfortunate event; mishap.
verb (used without object), chanced, chancing.
11.
to happen or occur by chance:
It chanced that our arrivals coincided.
verb (used with object), chanced, chancing.
12.
to take the chances or risks of; risk (often followed by impersonal it):
I'll have to chance it, whatever the outcome.
adjective
13.
not planned or expected; accidental:
a chance occurrence.
Verb phrases
14.
chance on/upon, to come upon by chance; meet unexpectedly:
She chanced on a rare kind of mushroom during her walk through the woods.
Idioms
15.
by chance, without plan or intent; accidentally:
I met her again by chance in a department store in Paris.
16.
on the chance, in the mild hope or against the possibility:
I'll wait on the chance that she'll come.
17.
on the off chance, in the very slight hope or against the very slight possibility.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French chance, cheance < Vulgar Latin *cadentia a befalling, happening; see cadenza
Related forms
chanceless, adjective
unchanced, adjective
Synonyms
2. accident, fortuity. 3. contingency. 4. opening. 11. befall. See happen. 13. casual, fortuitous.
Antonyms
1. necessity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for chance
  • They found that social cues did increase the probability that someone would give a song a chance.
  • The probability that the result was due to pure chance was less than one chance in ten million.
  • Your current college may offer your best chance of landing a full-time position, but it's not your only chance.
  • The world now has a chance to make finance work better.
  • As chance would have it, she married the officer who liberated her.
  • Here's your chance to create a holiday wreath using all native materials.
  • If you ever dreamed of owning your own dinosaur, now's your chance.
  • Finally, if you have the chance at the conclusion of the interview, ask sharp questions.
  • More civil nuclear technology around the world increases the chance of weapons proliferation.
  • Meteor gazers have one last chance to catch a show this year.
British Dictionary definitions for chance

chance

/tʃɑːns/
noun
1.
  1. the unknown and unpredictable element that causes an event to result in a certain way rather than another, spoken of as a real force
  2. (as modifier) a chance meeting, related adjective fortuitous
2.
fortune; luck; fate
3.
an opportunity or occasion
4.
a risk; gamble you take a chance with his driving
5.
the extent to which an event is likely to occur; probability
6.
an unpredicted event, esp a fortunate one that was quite a chance, finding him here
7.
(archaic) an unlucky event; mishap
8.
by chance
  1. accidentally he slipped by chance
  2. perhaps do you by chance have a room?
9.
chances are…, the chances are…, it is likely (that) …
10.
on the chance, acting on the possibility; in case
11.
the main chance, the opportunity for personal gain (esp in the phrase an eye to the main chance)
verb
12.
(transitive) to risk; hazard I'll chance the worst happening
13.
to happen by chance; be the case by chance I chanced to catch sight of her as she passed
14.
chance on, chance upon, to come upon by accident he chanced on the solution to his problem
15.
chance one's arm, to attempt to do something although the chance of success may be slight
Derived Forms
chanceful, adjective
chanceless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cheance, from cheoir to fall, occur, from Latin cadere
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for chance
n.

c.1300, "something that takes place, what happens, an occurrence" (good or bad, but more often bad), from Old French cheance "accident, chance, fortune, luck, situation, the falling of dice" (12c., Modern French chance), from Vulgar Latin *cadentia "that which falls out," a term used in dice, from neuter plural of Latin cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)).

In English frequently in plural, chances. The word's notions of "opportunity" and "randomness" are as old as the record of it in English and now all but crowd out the word's original notion of "mere occurrence." Main chance "thing of most importance" is from 1570s, bearing the older sense. The mathematical (and hence odds-making) sense is attested from 1778. To stand a chance (or not) is from 1796.

To take (one's) chances "accept what happens" (early 14c.) is from the old, neutral sense; to take a chance/take chances is originally (by 1814) "participate in a raffle or lottery or game;" extended sense of "take a risk" is by 1826.

v.

late 14c., "to come about, to happen," from chance (n.). Meaning "to risk" attested from 1859. Related: Chanced; chancing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for chance
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
chance in the Bible

(Luke 10:31). "It was not by chance that the priest came down by that road at that time, but by a specific arrangement and in exact fulfilment of a plan; not the plan of the priest, nor the plan of the wounded traveller, but the plan of God. By coincidence (Gr. sungkuria) the priest came down, that is, by the conjunction of two things, in fact, which were previously constituted a pair in the providence of God. In the result they fell together according to the omniscient Designer's plan. This is the true theory of the divine government." Compare the meeting of Philip with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26, 27). There is no "chance" in God's empire. "Chance" is only another word for our want of knowledge as to the way in which one event falls in with another (1 Sam. 6:9; Eccl. 9:11).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with chance
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for chance

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for chance

13
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with chance