verb (used without object), chanced, chanc·ing.
verb (used with object), chanced, chanc·ing.
Origin of chance
Synonyms for chance
Antonyms for chance
- the unknown and unpredictable element that causes an event to result in a certain way rather than another, spoken of as a real force
- (as modifier)a chance meeting Related adjective: fortuitous
- accidentallyhe slipped by chance
- perhapsdo you by chance have a room?
Word Origin for chance
late 14c., "to come about, to happen," from chance (n.). Meaning "to risk" attested from 1859. Related: Chanced; chancing.
c.1300, "something that takes place, what happens, an occurrence" (good or bad, but more often bad), from Old French cheance "accident, chance, fortune, luck, situation, the falling of dice" (12c., Modern French chance), from Vulgar Latin *cadentia "that which falls out," a term used in dice, from neuter plural of Latin cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)).
In English frequently in plural, chances. The word's notions of "opportunity" and "randomness" are as old as the record of it in English and now all but crowd out the word's original notion of "mere occurrence." Main chance "thing of most importance" is from 1570s, bearing the older sense. The mathematical (and hence odds-making) sense is attested from 1778. To stand a chance (or not) is from 1796.
To take (one's) chances "accept what happens" (early 14c.) is from the old, neutral sense; to take a chance/take chances is originally (by 1814) "participate in a raffle or lottery or game;" extended sense of "take a risk" is by 1826.
Casually, accidentally, as in I ran into Bill purely by chance. [c. 1300] Also see by coincidence.
In addition to the idioms beginning with chance
- chance it
- chance on
- by chance
- Chinaman's chance
- eye to the main chance
- fat chance
- fighting chance
- jump at (the chance)
- not have an earthly chance
- on the (off) chance
- snowball's chance in hell
- sporting chance
- stand a chance
- take a chance
- take one's chances