- The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
- A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck: Chance will determine the outcome.
- The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability. Often used in the plural: Chances are good that you will win. Is there any chance of rain?
- An accidental or unpredictable event.
- A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity: a chance to escape.
- A risk or hazard; a gamble: took a chance that the ice would hold me.
- Games. A raffle or lottery ticket.
- Baseball. An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.
Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual: a chance encounter; a chance result.
v., chanced, chancÂ·ing, chancÂ·es. v.intr.
To come about by chance; occur: It chanced that the train was late that day. v.tr.
To take the risk or hazard of: not willing to chance it.phrasal verb:
chance on or upon
- To find or meet accidentally; happen upon: While in Paris we chanced on two old friends.
on the off chance
- Without plan; accidentally: They met by chance on a plane.
- Possibly; perchance: Is he, by chance, her brother?
- In the slight hope or possibility.
[Middle English, unexpected event, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, from Latin cadÄ“ns, cadent-, present participle of cadere, to fall, befall.]
SYNONYMS chance, random, casual, haphazard, desultory. These adjectives apply to what is determined not by deliberation but by accident. Chance stresses lack of premeditation: a chance meeting with a friend. Random implies the absence of a specific pattern or objective: took a random guess. Casual often suggests an absence of due concern: a casual observation. Haphazard implies a carelessness or a willful leaving to chance: a haphazard plan of action. Desultory suggests a shifting about from one thing to another that reflects a lack of method: a desultory conversation. See also synonyms at happen, opportunity.