verb (used with or without object), be·chanced, be·chanc·ing. Archaic.
Words nearby bechance
Origin of bechance
What does bechance mean?
Bechance is an archaic word meaning to happen to (someone) or to occur, especially by fate or chance. When a word is labeled as archaic in a dictionary, it means that it was commonly used in an earlier time but is rare in present-day usage (except when used to mimic an older style, such as in a historical novel). Bechance can be used with an object (as in troubles will bechance you) or without an object (as in I cannot explain the events that bechanced). Example: He feared that misfortune would bechance him if he stayed in the city, so he fled to the country in hopes of a change.
Where does bechance come from?
The first records of the word bechance in English come from the 1520s. Back then, it was used much more commonly. Today, bechance is considered archaic, and it is rarely used, unless you’re trying to sound like Shakespeare (who used it multiple times in his works). For that reason, bechance is a word that feels really out of place in our current language—kind of like forsooth or wherefore. While bechance has the same meaning as befall, befall is much more commonly used, especially in journalism (often as a short substitute for happen to, as in when tragedy befalls a community). Relatedly, the word chance can be a verb meaning “to happen or occur by chance,” but this is somewhat rarely used. More commonly, the phrase chance upon is used to mean “to come across by chance.” To review: It may bechance that you chance upon bechance by chance, but the chances that this will bechance you are small.
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How is bechance used in real life?
Bechance is most often used to give the effect of a literary style from olden times.
may all the happiness bechance to thee this 2019! ❤️— anne (@nicouwl) December 31, 2018
Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances,— William Shakespeare (@Wwm_Shakespeare) March 17, 2018
Afflict him in his bed with bedred groans;
Let there bechance him pitiful mischances
To make him moan, but pity not his moans;
Stone him with hard’ned hearts harder than stones
What would bechance at Lyonnesse— Alan Marshall (@johnalan57) December 24, 2017
While I should sojourn there
No prophet durst declare,
Nor did the wisest wizard guess
What would bechance at Lyonnesse
While I should sojourn there.
Try using bechance!
Is bechance used correctly in the following sentence? She doesn’t know all that bechanced her family before their departure, but she knows it was bad enough to make them leave.