\ 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 Based on our machine learning analysis of trends in the stock price over the last ten years, there is a 55% chance of a rise in WLTW stock over the next month (twenty-one trading days). Trefis Team, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 There’s still a chance for a popup shower to develop, but the rainfall won’t be widespread. Asia Simone Burns, ajc, 9 Sep. 2021 Last chance to see this, the first major survey of Driskell’s paintings, which draws on the celebrated curator, writer, and educator’s inclusive vision that helped center the Black American experience., 9 Sep. 2021 There’s always a chance that some of these design changes are exclusive to the priciest model. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 8 Sep. 2021 The Gulf wave had a 40 percent chance (up from 30 percent earlier today) of becoming a tropical depression as of Tuesday afternoon and is expected to bring rain and the possibility of rip currents to the northern Gulf Coast this week. Leigh Morgan, al, 7 Sep. 2021 In the recall election, Republicans had a unique — if outside — chance of regaining relevancy in statewide politics. Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2021 There’s even a dwindling chance that California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom might be replaced by a conservative Republican in September’s recall election. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 4 Sep. 2021 Per Oregon officials, scientists say there is a 37% chance that a 7.1 magnitude or higher earthquake will happen at the boundary between the two tectonic plates, called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, in the next 50 years. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The mischievous prince of the SEC knows it, too, and left nothing to chance this preseason by smartly making sure everyone in the program was vaccinated. Joseph Goodman |, al, 27 Aug. 2021 Marquise would not chance bringing more suffering into their home. Dallas News, 24 June 2021 Marquise would not chance bringing more suffering into their home. Dallas News, 24 June 2021 According to Kreps, Gurley didn’t call directly to push a direct listing, but Confluent wasn’t willing to chance being one of the first companies to pursue a private capital raise alongside a direct listing and get burned. Alex Konrad, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Adams as a teen was beaten while in police custody, sparking his desire to become a police officer and chance the department from within. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, 23 June 2021 In one of the most touching entries, Samantha Martin, founder of the Amazing Acro-Cats troupe, talks about how the pandemic kept her cats from being able to tour (Portlanders have had to chance to enjoy the adorable furballs in action). oregonlive, 9 July 2021 This is overwhelmingly true for Hindus who comprise a majority of Indians and may therefore chance upon more fellow Hindus. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 29 June 2021 Marquise would not chance bringing more suffering into their home. Dallas News, 24 June 2021

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


13th 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

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The first known use of chance was in the 13th century

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Statistics for chance

Last Updated

12 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 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 : luck



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

: to accept the danger of (doing something) : risk
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

More from Merriam-Webster on chance

Nglish: Translation of chance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chance


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