\ 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

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

Synonyms: Verb

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

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Examples of chance in a Sentence


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.


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

Tickets are free – all fans have to do is sign up online for a chance to win. Chris Triunfo,, "Hannibal Buress announces surprise comedy set at WBUR’s CitySpace on Tuesday," 5 Aug. 2019 In the first episode of the Bachelor in Paradise two-night premiere event, our favorite members of Bachelor Nation begin their journey for another chance at finding love. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch on Monday: The singles waste no time coupling up on Bachelor in Paradise premiere," 5 Aug. 2019 After the championship flight of the 47th annual Will Jordan Classic teed off on the par-70 Mesa Linda Course on Saturday, the long drivers had a chance to make up ground on the par-72 Los Lagos Course on Sunday at Costa Mesa Country Club. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Connor O’Brien wins Costa Mesa City Championship golf tournament," 5 Aug. 2019 Suddenly, few teams — not even most contenders — are willing to give up high-ceiling (and cost-controlled in the long term) prospects for the short-term chance of an immediate playoff run. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "MLB front offices expose Detroit Tigers' trade deadline mistakes," 4 Aug. 2019 The obvious critique to far-reaching gun-control proposals is the same one that moderates have unsuccessfully tried to use against Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders: that their plans have no chance of becoming reality. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, "The Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Should Spur Democrats to Propose Big Ideas on Gun Violence," 4 Aug. 2019 The issue of whether felons should be allowed to vote while imprisoned has roiled the packed field of Democrats vying for the chance to try to deny President Donald Trump a second term. San Diego Union-Tribune, "O’Rourke to visit inmates inside California’s San Quentin," 3 Aug. 2019 Purnell, who started at times as a freshman on varsity at Desert Ridge, has patiently waited and worked for another chance to start. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Higley QB competition heats up on cool turf football field," 2 Aug. 2019 But fortunately for those who didn't camp out for a chance to purchase affordable shift dresses, patio umbrellas, and brightly colored beach towels, the Lilly for Target collaboration is heading back to stores. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Target Is Bringing Back Its Lilly Pulitzer Collaboration," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Indeed, Roosevelt did not leave the celebration of his exploits to chance. Sidney M. Milkis, Washington Post, "How Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders heralded American empire," 18 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 It was hailed as one of the most exciting archaeological finds in Britain in decades: an undisturbed Anglo-Saxon burial chamber chanced upon during a road widening project near Prittlewell, in Essex. Roff Smith, National Geographic, "New research questions famed burial of ‘first’ Christian Anglo-Saxon king," 8 May 2019 Leave nothing to chance or to someone else’s discretion. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: June 17, 2019," 17 June 2019 Among those thronging Tijuana were two strolling visitors who chanced upon the president’s speech. The Economist, "Mexico rejoices after averting Donald Trump’s tariffs threat," 9 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 Joe Buck wasn’t leaving the post-tournament kiss up to chance this time around. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Joe Buck didn't risk ruining Brooks Koepka's U.S. Open kiss after embarrassing 2017 blunder," 17 June 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.

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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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Learn More about chance

Dictionary Entries near chance






chance child


Statistics for chance

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chance

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

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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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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 Encyclopedia article about chance

Comments on chance

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marked by turns or indirection

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