chance

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: risk
not taking any chances
b
: a raffle ticket
chance adjective

chance

2 of 2

verb

chanced; chancing

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
Phrases
by chance
: in the haphazard course of events
they met by chance
chance one's arm
British : to take a risk

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The hope for fans, initially, was the chance to get to send Michigan football out of its final home game in 2022 with momentum. Tony Garcia, Detroit Free Press, 19 Nov. 2022 In July, Marvel Studios Kevin Feige told The Hollywood Reporterthat the third installment would be a chance to expand on the franchise’s two previous films. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Nov. 2022 If your team is a mid-major, there’s a good chance ESPN+ will be broadcasting their games. oregonlive, 19 Nov. 2022 Which means there's no chance of Bama winning its seventh national title since Nick Saban arrived 15 years ago. Arkansas Online, 19 Nov. 2022 In theory, the bye is supposed to be a chance to reset and refresh. Julian Benbow, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Nov. 2022 There is no chance Republicans will back a comprehensive package that yokes together legalization with dramatic increases in immigrant inflows, and there are no Democratic votes for cutting off the nation’s supply of foreign talent. Reihan Salam, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 There's a decent chance dad is still lugging around some old tech, like DVD players (or even Blu-Ray). Mike Richard, Men's Health, 18 Nov. 2022 For Liberty’s volleyball team, Thursday night was a chance to put an exclamation point on a spectacular season. Mike Frainie, Baltimore Sun, 17 Nov. 2022
Verb
When the mayoral race for a small Kentucky city ended in a tie, city officials turned to chance to determine the winner. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 11 Nov. 2022 But neither will want to leave matters to chance in that way. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 31 Oct. 2022 Not willing to leave her opportunity to take part in the democratic process to chance, Bexar County resident Olivia Garza always votes early. San Antonio Express-News, 24 Oct. 2022 The Suns had to chance to close out the Blazers in overtime, but didn't. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 21 Oct. 2022 The stakes are much too high to leave these things to chance, or to the lucre-sniffing incentives of capital. WIRED, 21 Oct. 2022 After a lackluster finish last week at Texas Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott didn’t want to leave playoff advancement to chance with the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway looming in the Round of 12. al, 2 Oct. 2022 Congress doesn't want to leave that to chance next time. Joel Mathis, The Week, 23 Sep. 2022 Neither party is leaving anything to chance, with the Republican Governors Association reserving $3.7 million in ads and other support between Oct. 12 and Election Day. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 27 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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"

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near chance

Cite this Entry

“Chance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chance. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

chance 1 of 3

noun

1
: the uncertain course of events
they met by chance
2
: opportunity sense 1
had a chance to travel
3
: the possibility of loss or injury
took chances driving too fast
4
: the possibility or probability of something happening
there is a chance of rain
5
: a ticket in a raffle

chance

2 of 3

verb

chanced; chancing
1
: to take place by chance : happen
it chanced to rain that day
2
: to come unexpectedly
used with upon
chanced upon a good restaurant
3
: risk entry 2 sense 2
knew the trip was dangerous but decided to chance it

chance

3 of 3

adjective

: happening by chance
a chance meeting

More from Merriam-Webster on chance

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