\ ˈchan(t)s How to pronounce chance (audio) \

Definition of chance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause Which cards you are dealt is simply a matter of chance.
b : the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings : luck an outcome decided by chance
c : the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence : contingency … you surely have endured strange chances— Alfred Tennyson
2 : a situation favoring some purpose : opportunity needed a chance to relax
3 : a fielding opportunity in baseball
4a : the possibility of a particular outcome in an uncertain situation What chance has he of pulling through? also : the degree of likelihood of such an outcome a small chance of success
b chances plural : the more likely indications chances are he's already gone
5a : risk not taking any chances
b : a raffle ticket
by chance
: in the haphazard course of events they met by chance


chanced; chancing

Definition of chance (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to take place, come about, or turn out by chance : happen it chanced to rain that day
b : to have the good or bad luck we chanced to meet
2 : to come or light by chance they chanced upon a remote inn

transitive verb

1 : to leave the outcome of to chance
2 : to accept the hazard of : risk knew the trip was dangerous but decided to chance it
chance one's arm
British : to take a risk

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Other Words from chance


chance adjective

Synonyms for chance

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of chance in a Sentence

Noun This is the chance of a lifetime! Everyone deserves a fair chance of winning the award. If you give me a chance, I know I can do a good job. We didn't have much chance to talk about it. There's a good chance that we'll finish on time. If you are free tonight, is there any chance you could join me for dinner? Which cards you're given is simply a matter of chance. Verb He couldn't chance playing with a broken toe. I don't think we should chance driving in this snowstorm.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Previously, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, an EU–China trade deal that merely paid lip service to human-rights concerns, stood a fair chance of winning approval by the European Parliament, despite U.S. objections. Jimmy Quinn, National Review, "Biden’s Troubling Outreach to China," 30 Apr. 2021 Chinese public health officials, like their counterparts elsewhere, have called for rolling out vaccination drives as fast as possible to slow the rate of new infections — and lower the chance of viral strains undergoing significant new mutations. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates India sets another grim record as global cases top 150 million," 30 Apr. 2021 Companies that start by extracting actionable insight from user data and feedback have a better chance of success. David Sawatzky, Fortune, "The 3 factors that make a digital product truly innovative," 30 Apr. 2021 Areas north of Salem have a better chance of seeing rain than the southern Willamette Valley. oregonlive, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Sunny, warm, with temps near 80; rain returns Friday," 29 Apr. 2021 While the sheikh won’t be among the limited fans in attendance Saturday, Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers indicated the protest has little chance of success. Beth Harris,, "Missing daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler casts shadow over favorite to win the Kentucky Derby," 29 Apr. 2021 The legislation advances to the Senate but is viewed as having no chance of further advancement during the final days of the 2021 legislation session. al, "Alabama House OK’s legislation combatting ‘period poverty’," 29 Apr. 2021 Because the ground will already be wet from Friday's rain, showers on Saturday and Sunday will bring another chance of minor flooding, meteorologists say. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "Stalled cold front drives storms over Houston this weekend," 29 Apr. 2021 History suggests the stock market has a good chance of finishing the year in the green. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The global chip shortage has come for iPads and Macs," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Don’t leave it to chance and force your future leader into a potentially crippling situation. Mark Steffe, Forbes, "Three Key Succession Planning Lessons For Your Leadership Transition," 8 Apr. 2021 Dozens of people decided to chance an escape by road in the convoy that was ambushed. New York Times, "As Militants Seize Mozambique Gas Hub, a Dash for Safety Turns Deadly," 28 Mar. 2021 By easing up on exclusionary policies while telling people not to come, the administration has sent a mixed message that has effectively encouraged people to chance the journey north, the critics say. Los Angeles Times, "Five takeaways from Biden’s first news conference," 25 Mar. 2021 The unfortunate bear in question happened to chance upon 40 containers of cocaine and died of an overdose. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, "The True Story Behind ‘Cocaine Bear’," 10 Mar. 2021 Enzor, whose husband is 88, doesn’t even chance it. Tribune News Service, al, "Fear, sadness, loneliness: South Florida’s seniors spent most of 2020 locked away," 3 Jan. 2021 Decked out in gemstones, Emhoff dared to be silly, to chance a bit of impish lightness. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Jewel Tones and Bernie Sanders’s Mittens: Inauguration Day Fashion 2021," 21 Jan. 2021 Samuels isn’t leaving that to chance though, and King Cake Hub has been cooking up ways to encourage them. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer,, "With a much different Mardi Gras, will king cake still rule New Orleans cravings?," 4 Jan. 2021 Missouri still has a home makeup game against Georgia on Dec. 12 or Dec. 19, but Drinkwitz didn’t want to leave anything to chance given the uncertainty of the pandemic. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Arkansas-Missouri live stream (12/5): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 5 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chance


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for chance


Middle English chaunce, chance "occurrence (especially unforeseen or providential), stroke of good or bad luck, luck, fall of the dice," borrowed from Anglo-French cheaunce, chaunce, chance, going back to Vulgar Latin *cadentia, noun derivative (formally feminine singular from neuter plural) of Latin cadent-, cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall, be cast (of dice, lots), turn out, come to pass," perhaps going back to an Indo-European verbal base *ḱad- or *ḱHd- "fall," whence also Sanskrit śaśāda "(s/he) fell off/out," śatsyati "(s/he) will fall off/out"


Middle English chancen, chaunsen, verbal derivative of chance, chaunce chance entry 1

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Time Traveler for chance

Time Traveler

The first known use of chance was in the 14th century

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Statistics for chance

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for chance



English Language Learners Definition of chance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an opportunity to do something : an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done
: the possibility that something will happen
: the way that events happen when they are not planned or controlled by people



English Language Learners Definition of chance (Entry 2 of 2)

: to accept the danger of (doing something)
formal used to describe something that happens because of luck or chance followed by to + verb


\ ˈchans How to pronounce chance (audio) \

Kids Definition of chance

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the happening of events that is not planned or controlled They met by chance.
2 : opportunity sense 1 I had a chance to travel.
3 : risk entry 1 sense 1, gamble take chances
4 : the possibility that something will happen There's a slight chance of rain.
5 : a ticket in a raffle He bought five chances.


chanced; chancing

Kids Definition of chance (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to take place without planning : to happen by luck “I merely chanced to overhear Mr. McGrath remark that he was starting it …”— Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill
2 : to find or meet unexpectedly I chanced on a bargain.
3 : to accept the danger of : risk He couldn't chance another injury.



Kids Definition of chance (Entry 3 of 3)

: happening without being planned a chance meeting

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