\ 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 The Rattlers had a chance to go up 48-21 early in the fourth quarter against the Blizzard, but LaSane fumbled near the goal line. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 6 June 2021 In the top of the 7th, Eastern had a chance to score for the first time. Phillip Steinmetz, The Courier-Journal, 6 June 2021 Even if Coombs and Day had been inclined to play more freshman defensive backs — and precedent suggests that is unlikely — the Class of 2020 never had a real chance to prove itself. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 5 June 2021 Even so, Paul has a chance to give Mayweather his first loss, while earning his own first victory. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, 5 June 2021 The Saints are the main attraction but during breaks in play and pregame fan engagement events, New Orleans will have a chance to appreciate a different kind of athlete. Christopher Dodson, Forbes, 4 June 2021 Any team with Abel, the Beavers say, has a chance to win, because his stuff is electric and his presence inspires the rest of the staff. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 3 June 2021 Beauillier had a chance on a breakaway less than two minutes later, but his forehand shot was denied by Rask. Vin A. Cherwoo, Star Tribune, 3 June 2021 Why would anyone think YouTube celebrity Logan Paul has a chance to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sunday in their exhibition boxing match? Josh Peter, USA Today, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Of course, accepting uncertainty doesn't at all mean leaving everything to chance. Dawn Brown, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Aldon Smith wasn’t leaving the touchdown to chance this time. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 14 Dec. 2020 Don’t leave it to chance and force your future leader into a potentially crippling situation. Mark Steffe, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 Dozens of people decided to chance an escape by road in the convoy that was ambushed. New York Times, 28 Mar. 2021 By easing up on exclusionary policies while telling people not to come, the administration has sent a mixed message that has effectively encouraged people to chance the journey north, the critics say. Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2021 The unfortunate bear in question happened to chance upon 40 containers of cocaine and died of an overdose. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 10 Mar. 2021 Enzor, whose husband is 88, doesn’t even chance it. Tribune News Service, al, 3 Jan. 2021 Decked out in gemstones, Emhoff dared to be silly, to chance a bit of impish lightness. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 21 Jan. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for chance

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 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



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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