\ 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 Pressure from conservative political parties nixed any chance of a visit. Washington Post, "Spanish king and queen arrive in Cuba for first royal visit," 12 Nov. 2019 Fully understanding the disease incidence and population demographics may further decrease the chance of an employer seeing an already rare disease in their population. Jeremy Schafer, STAT, "Should employers take a chance on little-known Embarc to pay for gene therapy?," 12 Nov. 2019 For example, a few right-wing social-media platforms have enabled the most reviled ideology of the 20th century to draw in young men hungry for a sense of meaning and belonging and willing to give Nazism a second chance. Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, "Why It Feels Like Everything Is Going Haywire," 12 Nov. 2019 And being the minority leader gives Schumer the chance to turn his ideas into concrete action. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "United States should make a massive investment in AI, top Senate Democrat says," 11 Nov. 2019 Its leader, Pablo Casado poured cold water on Mr. Sánchez’s chances of forming a new government. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Spain’s Far Right Gains in Election," 10 Nov. 2019 But nothing is guaranteed against seasoned gunslinger Philip Rivers … 66 percent chance of victory. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Broncos Insider: Forecasting the team’s final seven games and the probability of finishing .500," 10 Nov. 2019 The Knights are coming off an inexplicable road loss to Tulsa Friday night that ended any chance of competing for a third consecutive American Athletic Conference championship. Matt Murschel,, "UCF’s Josh Heupel: Challenge for Knights is whether to fight or fold," 10 Nov. 2019 Howard Wolfson, a top adviser to Bloomberg, says the former mayor has not fully committed to running but is uncomfortable with the Democrats’ chances of winning with the existing candidates. Philip Elliott, Time, "How Michael Bloomberg's Potential White House Run Shakes Up The Field," 9 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With just minutes left until half time, Andrea Pirlo chances his arm from distance and picks out the bottom corner., "Marcello Lippi: Montecristo Cigars, Neapolitan Dreams, Scuddeti in Turin & Gli Azzurri's World Cup," 3 Aug. 2019 Leaving nothing to chance — and with nothing else to do — Dan then ran through the plan over and over again. Dalton Ross,, "Dan's funeral: An oral history of the greatest Big Brother moment ever," 29 Aug. 2019 Gardner is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2020, and national Democrats, who want to leave nothing to chance, leaned heavily on Hickenlooper to run against him. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "John Hickenlooper is running for U.S. Senate: “I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado”," 21 Aug. 2019 After she was raped during a housewarming party in 2012, Caitlin Baalke left nothing to chance., "Saudi students escaping US justice: Amid political impasse, one sexual assault survivor speaks out," 2 Aug. 2019 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., "Ryan Crouser rises to the moment, wins the shot at the USATF Outdoor Championships," 26 July 2019

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

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

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Statistics for chance

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for chance

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

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More Definitions for chance


How to pronounce chance (audio)

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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