Definition of chance in US English:

chance

noun

  • 1A possibility of something happening.

    ‘there is little chance of his finding a job’
    ‘a chance of victory’
    • ‘We are back in with a chance against the losers of the provincial finals.’
    • ‘Things can change, but none of these teams look like having a realistic chance of progressing through the play-offs.’
    • ‘Critically ill infants born outside the capital are being given a fighting chance of survival through a national transport programme.’
    • ‘I'm always singing around the house and can't believe I could be in with a chance to let the nation vote for my voice.’
    • ‘There is also a realistic chance of progressing to compete on the big stage.’
    • ‘No-one else who has looked at footage of the incident believes the Rangers forward had even a chance of making an opportunity.’
    • ‘He believed the more people there were, the better chance there was going to be a party.’
    • ‘Therefore, allocations that specify this flag have a greater chance of succeeding.’
    • ‘Even more revealing are statistics concerning the lifetime chances of going to prison.’
    • ‘But, in reality neither have a snowball's chance in hell of going through.’
    • ‘It is a good draw with all the teams in with a chance of qualification.’
    • ‘To Mike it seemed that Katie was his last real chance at happiness.’
    • ‘Large-scale cooperative ventures stand the best chance for success, difficult though cooperation may be.’
    • ‘Bolton girls are once again being given the opportunity to win the chance of a glamorous modelling career.’
    • ‘There's no real prize, just instant fame and the slim chance of surviving one more season.’
    • ‘And I think there's still a twenty, thirty percent chance of our succeeding.’
    • ‘I'm a realist and I don't think we're in with a chance, but we won't be far behind.’
    • ‘Now is the time to get your tickets for the monthly community draw and be in with a chance to get your hands on some great money prizes.’
    • ‘Predictably, these eggs especially have a slim chance of surviving on the over-crowded beach if they are not rescued.’
    • ‘Baby Gabi was born three-and-a-half months premature and was given only a 25 percent chance of survival.’
    possibility, prospect, probability, odds, likelihood, likeliness, expectation, anticipation, conceivability, feasibility, plausibility
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1chances The probability of something happening.
      ‘he played down his chances of becoming chairman’
      • ‘Also, we have evolved to allow the best possible chances of survival and reproduction.’
      • ‘If you have got a jazz poster at home the chances are it's a Wolff photograph.’
      • ‘What do you think the chances are of that happening and what would be the effect if he did?’
      • ‘Yet at 30, a woman's chances of conceiving begin to decline.’
      • ‘Those of you planning a holiday, chances are you will find yourself at a beach resort.’
      • ‘Both sides will fancy their chances of progressing to the final on St. Patrick's Day.’
      • ‘If you have answered Yes to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.’
      • ‘Garry is upbeat about the club's chances of staying in business.’
      • ‘No matter how clear the course may look in front, the chances are that if you play as fast as you can as a single you will catch someone up sooner or later.’
      • ‘If the target of your affections returns your gaze for more than a second, chances are they're interested.’
      • ‘The youth team captain remains hugely upbeat about his sides' chances in the upcoming tournament.’
      • ‘If she were freed, her presence would give a huge boost to her party's chances in the elections.’
      • ‘That risk figure is calculated on the basis that you figure out what can go wrong and what the chances are of that happening.’
      • ‘If they're elected for a second term and chances are they would be, it's time to finish the job.’
      • ‘So if you're not looking for it, and are not unprepared, the chances are you will have a holiday romance.’
      • ‘If you don't like the cold then chances are ice carving probably isn't the job for you.’
      • ‘This time, despite the reservations already mentioned, Woods' chances are far better.’
      • ‘Fifty years ago, the chances were you would court and marry someone you met at school or at a local dance.’
      • ‘I once asked her what the chances were of me meeting a Vampire and living to tell about it.’
      • ‘Had he scored, the chances are Hibs could probably have added another chapter to their hard-luck story.’
      likelihood, probability, chances, balance
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2in singular An opportunity to do or achieve something.
      ‘I gave her a chance to answer’
      • ‘Still, Carramore looked the better balanced team but many chances were squandered.’
      • ‘He sees a money making opportunity and a chance to expand an empire.’
      • ‘The Barbarians game I see as an opportunity too; a chance to earn selection for the home tests in June.’
      • ‘It was a lack of putting touch that cost Ashworth the chance of achieving his long-held dream of playing in The Open.’
      • ‘Most people would agree that Castle-dermot deserves the chance to achieve this potential.’
      • ‘Every child deserves the best possible chance at life.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for Shanahoe their cause was not helped by missing some easy scoring chances in this second half.’
      • ‘As he acknowledged, he was once more drinking in the last chance saloon.’
      • ‘There are many strengths with medicine, and it saves lives, gives people a second chance.’
      • ‘The defense did not induce a turnover and the offense has achieved the chance to shoot.’
      • ‘But in the middle of all this Martin had missed those two glorious goal chances for Dublin.’
      • ‘Alvarez had another good chance in the 20th minute.’
      • ‘Does Jesus not say in the Bible about giving people a second chance?’
      • ‘They will also get the chance to achieve health and safety, management and hygiene certificates.’
      • ‘A golden chance to achieve success and happiness in life, that does exist in a world of realities.’
      • ‘Padraig had a great goal chance in the opening half.’
      • ‘Now, after playing in two losing grand finals, he has the chance to achieve what he really wants in football.’
      • ‘We are offering readers the chance to discover the answer to the three questions they would most like to ask the TV conman.’
      • ‘Together these parties have a chance of achieving an electoral breakthrough that has eluded the left for six decades.’
      • ‘I came here because I saw a fantastic business opportunity and a chance to make a real difference.’
      opportunity, opening, occasion, turn, time, moment, window, window of opportunity, slot
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A ticket in a raffle or lottery.
    4. 1.4Baseball An opportunity to make a defensive play, which if missed counts as an error.
      ‘541 straight chances without an error’
      • ‘In the field, he has played well since making a throwing error on his first chance.’
  • 2The occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design.

    ‘he met his brother by chance’
    ‘what a lucky chance that you are here’
    • ‘Burlison invented fuzz by chance when he accidentally dropped his amplifier to the floor before a gig.’
    • ‘Never wanting to be actively involved in politics, television happened by chance.’
    • ‘Do you by chance happen to know any art gallery owners secretly aspiring to be Don King?’
    • ‘If a result is significant, it means that you're pretty sure that it's unlikely to have happened by chance.’
    • ‘Do such events occur simply by chance or do they reflect a genetic programme that can be activated by specific signals?’
    • ‘This album will turn up, by chance, in the hidden trove of the reseller of Cabrera Infante's books.’
    • ‘Of course, there are beautiful scenes and views in nature, but that happens by chance.’
    • ‘Yet this contract came about in some respects purely by chance.’
    • ‘Murray and Johansson are brought together by chance, their lives intersecting in the hotel.’
    • ‘Devolution was neither inevitable nor did it happen by chance, but rather as the result of a positive choice for change.’
    • ‘How Frank got involved in the initiative came about completely by chance.’
    • ‘P, the manager of Cafe Bastille on Belden Lane, by chance of fate is also our neighbour.’
    • ‘However, he wasn't affected by the poison because he drank some tea by chance, which was an antidote.’
    • ‘Purely by chance, she chose a colour that would never go out of fashion.’
    • ‘I was at Mosport by chance at a private event for providing on-track coaching to owners of some very exotic cars.’
    • ‘Both his career as a novelist and his move to America happened by chance.’
    • ‘Surely this was a discrepancy that could not have arisen by chance, and is proof positive of a systematic bias amounting to racism.’
    • ‘He then, by chance, saw the noticeboard at the Volunteer Bureau advertising for drivers and stopped to find out more.’
    • ‘The museum here is home to a famous statue, the Dancing Satyr, which was retrieved from the seabed by chance, in a fishing net.’
    • ‘A fortuitous occurrence was something that happened by good fortune and not merely by chance or accident.’
    accident, coincidence, serendipity, fate, a twist of fate, destiny, fortuity, fortune, providence, freak, hazard
    fortuitously, by accident, accidentally, coincidentally, serendipitously, unintentionally, inadvertently
    View synonyms

adjective

  • attributive Fortuitous; accidental.

    ‘a chance meeting’
    • ‘I wouldn't hang my hat on saying it was such a chance encounter.’
    • ‘She now runs a boutique and recounts how a chance encounter changed her life.’
    • ‘In 1936, a chance meeting placed Johnson on the path to his destiny.’
    • ‘Secondly, there must be a chance meeting between the right female and male.’

verb

  • 1no object, with infinitive Do something by accident or without design.

    ‘if they chanced to meet’
    • ‘Maybe in all of his handling of it, he'd finally chanced to accidentally turn it on.’
    • ‘Till one day when he chanced to visit a town called River City where he met a music teacher who also worked as a librarian.’
    • ‘I chanced to hear about the temple from my uncle.’
    • ‘It had been completely dissected before someone chanced to recognize it.’
    • ‘She chanced to glance up, and their eyes met, both smiling quickly.’
    • ‘A lovely gentle soul, Mary was truly one of the ‘old stock’ and she had a warm welcome for all who chanced to visit the family home.’
    • ‘She was travelling just behind, and chanced to see the youth on the track with bleeding injuries.’
    • ‘No dwellings of any sort where someone might chance to see how she met her end.’
    • ‘One night he began to speak about the great warrior god who lived on the moon, and as he spoke, the girl chanced to look up in the sky.’
    • ‘It lacks the stunning volcano view of their pad in the Philippines, which was completely buried in grey ash by a huge, unforeseen eruption three days after they chanced to vacate it.’
    • ‘When he was in school, Eldhose chanced to read Dr. Salim Ali's landmark book.’
    • ‘Until the other day when I chanced to be reading an Internet message board, I never realized something very silly about it.’
    • ‘Venu chanced to read a poem on the art form by noted poet O.N.V. Kurup while making a documentary on ONV.’
    • ‘A short while ago, I chanced to be in Dallas making a documentary film.’
    • ‘Most of those who chanced to hear the broadcast by sheer accident, took down their long forgotten radios and transistor sets, and tuned in to the new station on 105.8 MHz.’
    • ‘Nobody I have ever chanced to meet has ever played the cards as well as Evelyn.’
    • ‘White wondered silently if this man he chanced to meet in the desert were really as well intending as he seemed to be.’
    • ‘Stopping by the grocers for a carton of yogurt, I chanced to be behind a small red-haired woman who held up her young son for the clerk's inspection.’
    • ‘On reaching into my shoulder-bag to locate my wallet my hands chanced to touch the package of shells.’
    • ‘She chanced to see the dance there and took to it like fish to water.’
    1. 1.1chance upon/on Find or see by accident.
      ‘he chanced upon an interesting advertisement’
      • ‘In chancing upon her subject's scrapbooks and photographs, Seymour hit the kind of paydirt of which most biographers can only dream.’
      • ‘His courtship of antique cameras also had lucky breaks like chancing upon photographers closing shop, selling him their equipment at bargain prices and friends and acquaintances also passing him on old cameras.’
      • ‘So I have converted 60 people to the cause (some of those people may just have chanced across the site by accident - looking up kinky octopuses no doubt).’
      • ‘The belief is that chancing upon a coin in the heap would usher in good fortune for the coming year.’
      • ‘I rather serendipitously chanced onto a career with the National Park Service in 1971 at the Fort Laramie National Historic Site.’
      • ‘Many a time, while searching through a pile of seemingly obscure books, one chances upon a real gem.’
      • ‘Following particularly caddish behaviour from the cad of the novel, Tansy embarks on a solo trip around the world, during which she chances upon a number of people, doesn't like any of them, then discovers they're not so very bad after all.’
      • ‘I'm currently enjoying the odd effect of chancing across spoken word excerpts in the original Italian.’
      • ‘A perfect face for a camera to capture, or so thought one photographer, who for the past decade has been taking pictures of the Montrose netters after chancing upon them while on holiday.’
      • ‘The deputy chairman of HBOS frequently used to talk about the tedium of looking around on the floor searching for pennies - and the excitement of chancing upon the occasional 50p piece.’
      • ‘Leave the long queue for the short one and you get the supermarket assistant chancing across her long-lost sister.’
      • ‘The scene they were filming in King Street saw Ian, who plays Billy Connolly's butler in the movie, chancing upon Garfield in a London street (rather like in the film Elizabeth, York is pretending to be London).’
      • ‘Jim then finds others before chancing on a military outpost in the north.’
      • ‘One of the things I like most is chancing upon a salesman trying desperately to sell an item that no-one, but no-one is stupid enough to want to buy.’
      • ‘The answer had become clear to Eaton last night, when he had chanced upon Clara comforting Will after Rebecca's accident.’
      • ‘However, it was not difficult to meet people simply by wandering through the bush and chancing upon scattered huts and houses.’
      • ‘Swanson took up kiting after chancing on a kite festival as he drove through Lauder a decade ago.’
      • ‘His output roams through jazz, techno, ambient, classical and world music, chancing upon unique hybrids en route.’
      • ‘Here's a tip - the likelihood of your boss wanting to google your name is almost as likely as them chancing across a copy of your book in the bargain bins at Borders.’
      • ‘As from next year, there will be no domestic coverage of Test cricket, so no opportunity for hungover passers-by to accidentally chance upon such a thriller.’
      come across, run across, run into, happen on, hit on, light on, come upon, stumble on, blunder on, find by chance, meet, meet by chance
      View synonyms
  • 2informal with object Do (something) despite its being dangerous or of uncertain outcome.

    ‘she waited a few seconds and chanced another look’
    • ‘I chanced a second look and was rewarded with even more shots pelting my position dangerously close to my face.’
    • ‘He says the days of drink-driving being seen as the older man's problem are long gone, and more younger people are now chancing the breathalyser, partly because of stronger and larger drinks.’
    • ‘The only game I ever chanced it on was the dart game.’
    • ‘Upon chancing a nibble, however, I felt that it could have done with a little bit more of the basics, namely salt and pepper.’
    • ‘I don't feel like chancing it, so I'm looking for an alternative exit strategy.’
    • ‘My own judgement is that he is chancing it when he presents conservative estimates of forest and species loss, rather than simply challenging the excesses of environmentalists.’
    • ‘Also chancing an icy swim were regulars from a Ryedale pub who resurrected a New Year tradition with a dip in the River Derwent.’
    • ‘Children as young as eight and nine have been spotted chancing dangerous tightrope walks across the poles which rise up to 30 ft above the ground.’
    • ‘Instead she was outside in the spring sunshine - chancing it amongst the skyscrapers.’
    • ‘He knew he might have chanced it once but he wouldn't have tried it the second time!’
    • ‘‘We have had a number of incidents of motorists chancing it and driving though flooded roads and breaking down,’ he said.’
    • ‘Even so, the latest in what may well be an endless series was chancing it a bit.’
    • ‘Was he a highly-charged risk-taker who, away from his family, had chanced all on a madcap, criminal adventure?’
    • ‘I realise I'm chancing my neck, so I'll be logging on and off to make sure I get the right result - did I type that out loud?’
    • ‘Like every sold-out library event I've done in the last few years, there were still some empty seats and the people who came along and chanced a standby all got in.’
    • ‘Terrified to take my eyes off the road, I chanced a look, and saw a car full of guys.’
    • ‘How can today's business leaders take the risks necessary to pursue rapid growth without also chancing the wrath of disappointed shareholders - and potentially devastating legal action?’
    • ‘Chancing a look in his direction, Eve observed that he was grinning.’
    • ‘To reject giving a child a jab in favour of chancing it with the disease is to absolve oneself of responsibility.’
    • ‘I chanced a look up and Liam smiled uncertainly at me.’
    risk, hazard, venture, try, try one's luck with
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • by any chance

    • Possibly (used in tentative inquiries or suggestions)

      ‘were you looking for me by any chance?’
      • ‘Could you, by any chance, bring a huge umbrella next year?’
      • ‘If, by any chance, you're in a dilemma about what dessert to serve after you've eaten your freedom fries, you may wish to consider a bucket of Star Spangled Ice Cream.’
      • ‘Is this an anti-capitalism statement, by any chance?’
      • ‘Are you all feeling a sense of impending doom by any chance?’
      • ‘Did you take your own legal advice, by any chance?’
      • ‘Does he, by any chance, come from a naval family?’
      • ‘Do they plan late night music bars by any chance?’
      • ‘They wouldn't have a socialist government, by any chance, would they?’
      • ‘Is Michelle still working there, by any chance?’
      • ‘They would not be Left-leaning by any chance, would they?’
      please, kindly, be so good as to
      View synonyms
  • no chance

    • informal There is no possibility of that.

      ‘I asked if we could leave early and she said, “No chance.”’
  • on the (off) chance

    • Just in case.

      ‘Joan phoned at noon on the off chance that he'd be home’
      • ‘I'm going to continue this experiment until Saturday morning, just on the off chance that the gentleman downstairs is away.’
      • ‘Hey: on the off chance that I should perish in a fatal car crash on some major highway, please don't commemorate my life by putting up ribbons and flowers on the telephone pole I crashed into.’
      • ‘So bad has the refuse collection service been over the past year that I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get a collection is to keep the bin permanently in the back street on the off chance that occasionally it might be emptied.’
      • ‘Why should we have to pay a lifetime of premiums, making some insurance company masses of money, just on the off chance that one day we can make a claim?’
      • ‘So, on the off chance that any occupation officials are reading this post, I'm going to list a few guidelines that may help you avoid bad coverage.’
      • ‘What are the chances that, even on the off chance that she did happen to see this ad, she would actually remember one drunken night in a youth hostel ten years ago?’
      • ‘You don't have to spend a year researching a subject on the off chance of selling it through your unknown name.’
      • ‘Bernard, 76, who moved to New South Wales from Greater Manchester 40 years ago, suspected the pigeon fancier may be a distant relative and decided to write to him on the off chance.’
      • ‘While Shane Warne is still taking wickets or Ricky Ponting is still scoring centuries, you wouldn't replace them just on the off chance that the crowds might find it more exciting if someone new was in the team.’
      • ‘I'd found her number in the phone book and called her up on the chance that she'd meet me.’
  • stand a chance

    • usually with negativeHave a prospect of success or survival.

      ‘his rivals don't stand a chance’
      • ‘The Olympic committee is backing a recent sports council initiative that agreed to focus most of its funding on sports that stood a chance of Olympic success.’
      • ‘So they knew they needed to beat each other in order to stand a chance of survival.’
      • ‘In the wild, Simba would not have stood a chance.’
      • ‘If I'd been on duty I wouldn't have stood a chance of getting there in time.’
      • ‘She had seen a TV programme about Ireland and thought that a somewhat unconventional person like herself stood a chance of being accepted there.’
      • ‘How would the fox hunters like it if they got chased for miles knowing that they wouldn't stand a chance of surviving?’
      • ‘Basically it didn't get any airplay on Radio One and if you don't get airplay, you don't stand a chance.’
      • ‘I have no doubt they thought they stood a chance of getting something else.’
      • ‘He hated the idea, but it seemed like the only way they could go and stand a chance of surviving.’
      • ‘The Tory idea stands a chance of success depending on which councillors turn up for the meeting.’
  • take a chance (or chances)

    • 1Behave in a way that leaves one vulnerable to danger or failure.

      • ‘Butcher was prepared to take chances as he took on the bowlers but played with sense, aggression and confidence.’
      • ‘She took a chance and ventured out from behind the microphone into a one-woman play titled, ‘This is Where I Get Off.’’
      • ‘As many gamblers have testified, taking a chance with your cash is likely to lead to heartache and empty pockets.’
      • ‘It's great theatre: it's irreverent, rude to the establishment and is prepared to take chances.’
      • ‘You are lucky and can hope to win if you gamble or take a chance.’
      • ‘The four fearless musicians who comprise NEWA (Nicholas Brancker, Eddie Bullen, Wilson Laurencin and Arturo Tappin) took chances, venturing into the unknown.’
      • ‘Barb had not only convinced her friend to take a chance at the venture but also had agreed to help her out that weekend.’
      • ‘For such a small investment its well worth taking a chance and it could be you who has all their Christmas and New Year money worries wiped out instantly.’
      • ‘More often than not it appears to be the belief that it is better to play it safe rather than take a chance at change and failure.’
      • ‘This is not a good time to take chances or indulge in speculation.’
      risk, gamble, hazard, venture, speculation, long shot, leap in the dark, pig in a poke, lottery, pot luck
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Put one's trust in (something or someone) knowing that it may not be safe or certain.
        • ‘The players might have done it themselves but I wasn't prepared to take a chance on that.’
        • ‘If you love improv, these quirky guys are worth taking a chance on.’
        • ‘With the chart singles being blared out of every available set of speakers, which are you going to do - go for the name you know and trust, or take a chance on one you don't?’
        • ‘Here's hoping that future organizers of events like this can step out and take a chance on something new and exciting for everyone.’
        • ‘But Coventry were the one club prepared to take a chance on me.’
        • ‘Weren't Rangers the only team prepared to take a chance on the Frenchman?’
        • ‘Much like the film it alludes to, this is an acquired taste, but worth taking a chance on, nonetheless.’
        • ‘To make something like Thalos happen takes some courage, and I have to hand it to London and Vienna for taking a chance on trusting their public to show themselves in a good way.’
        • ‘Meaning that, you've got to fly business or be prepared to take a chance on the wait list.’
        • ‘she took a chance on what to call him and he did not correct her, so she guessed it was appropriate.’
        act in the hope of, trust in, take a chance on, bank on
        View synonyms
  • take one's chances

    • Do something risky with the hope of success.

      • ‘We always thought he would come through and we are just hoping he takes his chance now.’
      • ‘Evening Press readers took their chance to grill the Railtrack boss last night in a lively 90-minute online debate.’
      • ‘‘I think he walked past the house and saw there was en elderly person inside and took their chance to make some easy money,’ he said.’
      • ‘The conditions dictated that the score would be close and as the half time whistle approached Bolton took their chance with a penalty in front of the posts.’
      • ‘It was just before the Queen's accession that the first affordable package tour was offered, by an ex-RAF pilot who had bought an old Dakota, booked an hotel in Paris, and took their chance.’
      • ‘It won't be easy for me to break into the team because the lads have been doing so well but I will just have to get my head down, train hard, and take my chance when it comes along.’
      • ‘There have been a couple of other youth players that have been given a chance so far this season and it is to be hoped that these kids can take their chance and boost the first team squad.’
      • ‘The Bellamys are being fully refunded and hope to take their chance to go on another cruise towards the end of the year.’
      • ‘They took their chance when it was offered to them a few years back and that is what I have to aim to do.’
      • ‘Up here you get your chance, and you take your chance.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French cheance, from cheoir ‘fall, befall’, based on Latin cadere.

Pronunciation

chance

/CHans//tʃæns/