chance

noun
\ 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

chance

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chance

Noun

chance adjective

Synonyms for chance

Synonyms: Noun

accident, casualty [archaic], circumstance, hap, hazard, luck

Synonyms: Verb

adventure, gamble (on), hazard, risk, tempt, venture

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Enceladus is widely viewed as one of the solar system’s best bets to harbor alien life, and the chances are much better in this regard if life has had 4.5 billion years to get going there rather than 100 million. Mike Wall, Scientific American, "Saturn’s Rings May Be Ancient After All," 17 Sep. 2019 Scott hadn’t had a chance to speak with Sankey yet as to the extent of what the SEC’s proposal might be, but said when the Power 5 commissioners next meet changes to equivalency scholarships will surely be discussed. oregonlive, "SEC considering most revolutionary change to college sports since Title IX, how it could impact Pac-12 schools," 16 Sep. 2019 What are the chances of getting a study permit approved in Canada? Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Three in four Africans applying for student visas in Canada this year have been rejected," 13 Sep. 2019 Robin Larsen directs this curious-sounding tale about a captive elephant and a virginal Sunday school teacher who takes a chance on love. Los Angeles Times, "The best theater to see in L.A. this fall," 11 Sep. 2019 If a film is not made by the prolific and preternaturally successful Disney (or with Disney’s help, in the case of Spider-Man: Far From Home), then its best chance of turning a quick profit for its studio is to be a horror movie. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "The “It” franchise is responsible for the two biggest horror movie openings ever," 9 Sep. 2019 There's still plenty of NYFW left, which means lots of chances for Keys to stun us with a hairstyle again. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Alicia Keys’s Stunning Braid Crown at NYFW Is a Work of Art," 9 Sep. 2019 Every voter would get a chance to elect five members -- the four at-large candidates and a person to represent their district. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Should some Cincinnati council seats be elected by district? These citizens think so.," 8 Sep. 2019 Volkswagen is in the midst of reimagining its classic Beetle, and among other things that means giving current owners a chance to get in on the electric revolution. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Vintage VW Beetles and Buses Are Going Electric," 6 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Florida, many are leaving nothing to chance, stocking up at gas stations and grocery stores. CBS News, "Dorian expected to be "extremely dangerous" as it heads for U.S. — live updates," 31 Aug. 2019 How the pick happened: Konstantinov’s fierceness caught Smith’s eye, and the Wings opted to chance drafting a second Soviet. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "How Detroit Red Wings hit the mother lode at NHL draft 30 years ago," 17 June 2019 For the most part, colleges do not leave the formation of teams to chance. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Bribery scandal points to the athletic factor: A major force in college admissions," 13 June 2019 The former University of Oregon star didn’t leave much to chance, going to the front from the start and keeping the pace honest. oregonlive.com, "Ryan Crouser rises to the moment, wins the shot at the USATF Outdoor Championships," 26 July 2019 The Art of Imperfection’ is my commentary on the detriment of our hyper-perfectionist society and, in turn, how some of the most beautiful moments come from vulnerability, flaw, and leaving things to chance. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "Recent SCAD Grads and Fashion Designers Brandon Skipper, Linden Grace Colby, Haley Emerson, and Darren Apolonio Discuss The Current State of Fashion," 3 July 2019 So instead of leaving things to chance, King decided to tag along on a road trip with two software engineers, a college professor and a lawyer, who all ditched their airlines, rented a car, and decided to make the nearly 10-hour drive back to Maine. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "'You got to be spontaneous': Sen. Angus King takes road trip with four strangers," 21 June 2019 Rodriguez wasn't leaving anything to chance, though. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Alex Rodriguez Spent Three Days Rehearsing His Proposal to Jennifer Lopez," 17 Apr. 2019 An Outer Party member could reach the Inner Party by chancing into an early job at a lottery-ticket company (such as a Facebook or Google) or by becoming a successful entrepreneur. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System," 9 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of chance

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for chance

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia fall, from Latin cadent-, cadens, present participle of cadere to fall; perhaps akin to Sanskrit śad- to fall off

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chance

Dictionary Entries near chance

Chañabal

chanar

chanc

chance

chanceable

chance child

chanceful

Statistics for chance

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chance

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chance

chance

noun

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

chance

verb

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

chance

noun
\ 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.

chance

verb
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.

chance

adjective

Kids Definition of chance (Entry 3 of 3)

: happening without being planned a chance meeting

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chance

Spanish Central: Translation of chance

Nglish: Translation of chance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chance for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chance

Comments on chance

What made you want to look up chance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!