mis·​chance ˌmis-ˈchan(t)s How to pronounce mischance (audio)
: bad luck
: a piece of bad luck : mishap
Choose the Right Synonym for mischance

misfortune, mischance, adversity, mishap mean adverse fortune or an instance of this.

misfortune may apply to either the incident or conjunction of events that is the cause of an unhappy change of fortune or to the ensuing state of distress.

never lost hope even in the depths of misfortune

mischance applies especially to a situation involving no more than slight inconvenience or minor annoyance.

took the wrong road by mischance

adversity applies to a state of grave or persistent misfortune.

had never experienced great adversity

mishap applies to an often trivial instance of bad luck.

the usual mishaps of a family vacation

Examples of mischance in a Sentence

two enemies brought together by mischance the smallest mischance could spell disaster for our plan
Recent Examples on the Web Timothy Naftali, New York University historian But mischance and error plagued the U.S. effort to divert the missile crisis. Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, 18 Oct. 2015

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mischance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English mischaunce, from Anglo-French meschance, from mes- mis- + chance chance

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mischance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near mischance

Cite this Entry

“Mischance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischance. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mis·​chance (ˈ)mis-ˈchan(t)s How to pronounce mischance (audio)
: bad luck that is not of a serious nature
: a piece of bad luck : mishap

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