\ 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 But Bryan Reimer, a research scientist in transportation and logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it’s the conflict with federal law that gives carmakers a good chance of victory., "Will carmakers defeat Question 1 in court?," 12 May 2021 There’s a good chance that the video even has some tips that experienced iPhone users were wholly unaware of. Yoni Heisler, BGR, "Learn how to make your iPhone battery last longer with simple tips in this video," 12 May 2021 Whenever a dermatologist found a suspicious spot, that meant there was a good chance some skin was coming off. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, "The Future Of Treating Skin Cancer—And The Best Sunscreens To Prevent It," 11 May 2021 Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature, and since the Senate tends to be more conservative, there is a good chance House Democrats will approve the bill. oregonlive, "Oregon legislators are poised to mandate teacher union say on class size. Portland’s experience suggests it could undermine push for equity," 9 May 2021 But just as Duncan was the last of his kind — something surely to be noted when he is enshrined in the Hall of Fame next Saturday — there’s a good chance Popovich will be the last of his. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "As coaches' power fades, Gregg Popovich might be 'one guy left'," 8 May 2021 Depending on when the show hears back about a renewal, there's a good chance that the series will follow the typical Netflix schedule and come out with another season next year. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "Jupiter's Legacy" Season 2," 7 May 2021 Other than that, Saturday's game could be a good chance for players in camp to prove themselves. Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune, "Lynx return to Target Center for first time since September 2019," 7 May 2021 Breton mapped out the process, and realized that there was a good chance that Europe already had the capacity to meet the 70 percent target in July, the official said. Washington Post, "Europe's vaccine campaign is accelerating. It expects to match the U.S. by July.," 6 May 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

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 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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