Definition of chance in English:


Syllabification: chance
Pronunciation: /CHans


  • 1A possibility of something happening: a chance of victory there is little chance of his finding a job
    More example sentences
    • I'm always singing around the house and can't believe I could be in with a chance to let the nation vote for my voice.
    • Now is the time to get your tickets for the monthly community draw and be in with a chance to get your hands on some great money prizes.
    • It is a good draw with all the teams in with a chance of qualification.
  • 1.1 (chances) The probability of something happening: he played down his chances of becoming chairman
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    • Had he scored, the chances are Hibs could probably have added another chapter to their hard-luck story.
    • That risk figure is calculated on the basis that you figure out what can go wrong and what the chances are of that happening.
    • What do you think the chances are of that happening and what would be the effect if he did?
  • 1.2 [in singular] An opportunity to do or achieve something: I gave her a chance to answer
    More example sentences
    • Most people would agree that Castle-dermot deserves the chance to achieve this potential.
    • A golden chance to achieve success and happiness in life, that does exist in a world of realities.
    • It was a lack of putting touch that cost Ashworth the chance of achieving his long-held dream of playing in The Open.
    opportunity, opening, occasion, turn, time, window (of opportunity)
    informal shot
  • 1.3A ticket in a raffle or lottery.
  • 1.4 Baseball An opportunity to make a defensive play, which if missed counts as an error: 541 straight chances without an error
    More example sentences
    • In the field, he has played well since making a throwing error on his first chance.


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  • 1 [no object] Do something by accident or without design: if they chanced to meet
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    • White wondered silently if this man he chanced to meet in the desert were really as well intending as he seemed to be.
    • Nobody I have ever chanced to meet has ever played the cards as well as Evelyn.
    • Maybe in all of his handling of it, he'd finally chanced to accidentally turn it on.
  • 1.1 (chance upon/on) Find or see by accident: he chanced upon an interesting advertisement
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    • So I have converted 60 people to the cause (some of those people may just have chanced across the site by accident - looking up kinky octopuses no doubt).
    • As from next year, there will be no domestic coverage of Test cricket, so no opportunity for hungover passers-by to accidentally chance upon such a thriller.
    • The answer had become clear to Eaton last night, when he had chanced upon Clara comforting Will after Rebecca's accident.
    come across/upon, run across/into, happen on, light on, stumble on, find by chance, meet (by chance), bump into
  • 2 [with object] informal Do (something) despite its being dangerous or of uncertain outcome: she waited a few seconds and chanced another look
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    • Children as young as eight and nine have been spotted chancing dangerous tightrope walks across the poles which rise up to 30 ft above the ground.
    • I chanced a second look and was rewarded with even more shots pelting my position dangerously close to my face.
    • I chanced a look up and Liam smiled uncertainly at me.
    risk, hazard, venture, try
    formal essay


by any chance

Possibly (used in tentative inquiries or suggestions): were you looking for me by any chance?
More example sentences
  • Is Michelle still working there, by any chance?
  • Is this an anti-capitalism statement, by any chance?
  • Did you take your own legal advice, by any chance?

no chance

informal There is no possibility of that: I asked if we could leave early and she said, “No chance.”

on the (off) chance

Just in case: Joan phoned at noon on the off chance that he’d be home
More example sentences
  • I'd found her number in the phone book and called her up on the chance that she'd meet me.
  • What are the chances that, even on the off chance that she did happen to see this ad, she would actually remember one drunken night in a youth hostel ten years ago?
  • So, on the off chance that any occupation officials are reading this post, I'm going to list a few guidelines that may help you avoid bad coverage.

stand a chance

[usually with negative] Have a prospect of success or survival: his rivals don’t stand a chance
More example sentences
  • The Tory idea stands a chance of success depending on which councillors turn up for the meeting.
  • So they knew they needed to beat each other in order to stand a chance of survival.
  • The Olympic committee is backing a recent sports council initiative that agreed to focus most of its funding on sports that stood a chance of Olympic success.

take a chance (or chances)

Behave in a way that leaves one vulnerable to danger or failure.
More example sentences
  • More often than not it appears to be the belief that it is better to play it safe rather than take a chance at change and failure.
  • The four fearless musicians who comprise NEWA (Nicholas Brancker, Eddie Bullen, Wilson Laurencin and Arturo Tappin) took chances, venturing into the unknown.
  • For such a small investment its well worth taking a chance and it could be you who has all their Christmas and New Year money worries wiped out instantly.
risk, gamble, venture, speculation, long shot, shot in the dark
(take a chance on) Put one’s trust in (something or someone) knowing that it may not be safe or certain.
More example sentences
  • The players might have done it themselves but I wasn't prepared to take a chance on that.
  • To make something like Thalos happen takes some courage, and I have to hand it to London and Vienna for taking a chance on trusting their public to show themselves in a good way.
  • With the chart singles being blared out of every available set of speakers, which are you going to do - go for the name you know and trust, or take a chance on one you don't?

take one's chances

Do something risky with the hope of success.
More example sentences
  • We always thought he would come through and we are just hoping he takes his chance now.
  • The Bellamys are being fully refunded and hope to take their chance to go on another cruise towards the end of the year.
  • Up here you get your chance, and you take your chance.


Middle English: from Old French cheance, from cheoir 'fall, befall', based on Latin cadere.

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Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody