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[chan-see, chahn-]
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adjective, chanc·i·er, chanc·i·est.
  1. uncertain, hazardous, or risky.
  2. random; haphazard; subject to chance.
  3. Chiefly Scot. lucky1.
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Origin of chancy

First recorded in 1505–15; chance + -y1
Related formschanc·i·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for chancy

Historical Examples

  • The struggle for life was difficult and chancy in the islands in those days.

    Following the Equator, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Hopalong smiled, turned to Buck and related his conversation with Chancy.

  • Hugh de Moreville is a man whom it is not chancy to meddle with.

  • To get a light in this way was the most chancy thing in the world.

  • A dark road, pitted with shell holes and slimy with mud, is chancy.

    Golden Lads

    Arthur Gleason and Helen Hayes Gleason

British Dictionary definitions for chancy



adjective chancier or chanciest
  1. informal of uncertain outcome or temperament; risky
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Derived Formschancily, adverbchanciness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for chancy


1510s, "lucky, foreboding good fortune," from chance (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "uncertain, subject to risk" is recorded from 1860. The possible sense "full of opportunity" seems to have been used regularly only in cricket (1875).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper