[ chans, chahns ]
/ tʃæns, tʃɑns /
the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency: Chance governs all.
luck or fortune: a game of chance.
a possibility or probability of anything happening: a fifty-percent chance of success.
an opportune or favorable time; opportunity: Now is your chance.
Baseball. an opportunity to field the ball and make a put-out or assist.
a risk or hazard: Take a chance.
a share or ticket in a lottery or prize drawing: The charity is selling chances for a dollar each.
chances, probability: The chances are that the train hasn't left yet.
Midland and Southern U.S. a quantity or number (usually followed by of).
Archaic. an unfortunate event; mishap.
verb (used without object), chanced, chanc·ing.
to happen or occur by chance: It chanced that our arrivals coincided.
verb (used with object), chanced, chanc·ing.
to take the chances or risks of; risk (often followed by impersonal it): I'll have to chance it, whatever the outcome.
not planned or expected; accidental: a chance occurrence.
chance on/upon, to come upon by chance; meet unexpectedly: She chanced on a rare kind of mushroom during her walk through the woods.
Words nearby chance
Idioms for chance
by chance, without plan or intent; accidentally: I met her again by chance in a department store in Paris.
on the chance, in the mild hope or against the possibility: I'll wait on the chance that she'll come.
on the off chance, in the very slight hope or against the very slight possibility.
Origin of chance
1250–1300; Middle English < Old French chance, cheance < Vulgar Latin *cadentia a befalling, happening; see cadenza
SYNONYMS FOR chance
OTHER WORDS FROM chancechance·less, adjectiveun·chanced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for by chance
/ (tʃɑːns) /
- 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
fortune; luck; fate
an opportunity or occasion
a risk; gambleyou take a chance with his driving
the extent to which an event is likely to occur; probability
an unpredicted event, esp a fortunate onethat was quite a chance, finding him here
archaic an unlucky event; mishap
- accidentallyhe slipped by chance
- perhapsdo you by chance have a room?
chances are… or the chances are… it is likely (that) …
on the chance acting on the possibility; in case
the main chance the opportunity for personal gain (esp in the phrase an eye to the main chance)
(tr) to risk; hazardI'll chance the worst happening
to happen by chance; be the case by chanceI chanced to catch sight of her as she passed
chance on or chance upon to come upon by accidenthe chanced on the solution to his problem
chance one's arm to attempt to do something although the chance of success may be slight
Derived forms of chancechanceful, adjectivechanceless, adjective
Word Origin for chance
C13: from Old French cheance, from cheoir to fall, occur, from Latin cadere
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Idioms and Phrases with by chance (1 of 2)
Casually, accidentally, as in I ran into Bill purely by chance. [c. 1300] Also see by coincidence.
Idioms and Phrases with by chance (2 of 2)
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.