Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Vulgar Latin cadentia 'fall', from Latin cadere 'to fall'


1 noun
chance1 S1 W1


[uncountable and countable] how possible or likely it is that something will happen, especially something you wantCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
there's a chance (that) (=it is possible that) there's every chance (that) (=it is very likely) some chance little chance no chance a good/fair chance (=something is likely) a slight/slim/outside chance (=something is unlikely) a fifty-fifty chance (=the possibility of something happening or not happening is equal) a million to one chance/a one in a million chance (=something is extremely unlikely to happen) lessen/minimize/reduce the chance(s) of something (=make it less likely) increase/improve the chance(s) of something (=make it more likely) chances are (=it is likely)
There's always the chance that something will go wrong.
chance of
what are the team's chances of success?
She has a good chance of a successful recovery.
There is little chance of her being found alive.
The day will be cloudy with a slight chance of rain later tonight.
He gave the show a fifty-fifty chance of survival.
It was a million to one chance, but it had happened.
The operation is performed under local anaesthetic, which lessens the chances of infection.
How can we improve our chances of career development?
Chances are they'll be out when we call.


[countable] a time or situation which you can use to do something that you want to do [= opportunity]
chance to do something
Ralph was waiting for a chance to introduce himself.
chance of
our only chance of escape
have/get a chance (to do something)
I never get a chance to relax these days.
I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to look at it yet.
I can explain everything if you'll just give me a chance.
You should take the chance (=use the opportunity) to travel while you're still young.
grab the chance/jump at the chance (=eagerly and quickly use an opportunity)
If someone invited me over to Florida, I'd jump at the chance.
Denise never misses the chance of a free meal.
a second chance/another chance
He was given a second chance to prove his abilities.
Friday is your last chance to see the show before it closes.
I'll give you one last chance and if you don't bring it on Monday, you'll be in trouble.
a chance of a lifetime/a chance in a million (=a chance that you are very unlikely to have again)
I couldn't pass up going to Japan; it was a chance in a million.
Quick! Now's your chance to ask her, before she leaves.
Rick could do really well, given half a chance (=if he were given even a small opportunity).


take a chance

to do something that involves risks:
The rope might break, but that's a chance we'll have to take.
After losing $20,000 on my last business venture, I'm not taking any chances this time.
take a chance on
He was taking a chance on a relatively new young actor.
He decided to take his chances in the boat.

likely to succeed

somebody's chances

how likely it is that someone will succeed:
Ryan will be a candidate in next month's elections, but his chances are not good.
somebody's chances of doing something
England's chances of winning the series have all but disappeared.
not fancy/not rate somebody's chances British English (=think someone is unlikely to succeed)
I don't fancy their chances against Brazil.


[uncountable] the way some things happen without being planned or caused by people [↪ fate]
by chance
I bumped into her quite by chance in Oxford Street.
leave something to chance (=to not plan something but just hope that everything will happen as intended)
Dave had thought of every possibility, he was leaving nothing to chance.
pure/sheer/blind chance (=not at all planned)
It was pure chance that they ended up working in the same office in the same town.
As chance would have it, the one time I wanted to see her, she wasn't in.

stand/have a chance (of something/of doing something)

if someone or something stands a chance of doing something, it is possible that they will succeed:
If we did move to London, I'd stand a much better chance of getting a job.
Ireland have an outside chance (=slight chance) of qualifying for the World Cup.
He has a sporting chance of promotion (=a fairly good chance).
I've given myself a fighting chance of getting to the finals (=a small but real chance if a great effort can be made).

by any chance

spoken used to ask politely whether something is true:
Are you Mrs Grant, by any chance?

any chance of ...?

spoken used to ask whether you can have something or whether something is possible:
Any chance of a cup of coffee?
Any chance of you coming to the party on Saturday?

be in with a chance

if a competitor is in with a chance, it is possible that they will win:
I think we're in with a good chance of beating them.

no chance!/fat chance!

spoken used to emphasize that you are sure something could never happen:
'Maybe your brother would lend you the money?' 'Huh, fat chance!'

on the off chance

if you do something on the off chance, you do it hoping for a particular result, although you know it is not likely:
I didn't really expect her to be at home. I just called on the off chance.

chance would be a fine thing!

British English spoken used to mean that the thing you want to happen is very unlikely:
'Do you think you'll get married?' 'Chance would be a fine thing!'

➔ game of chance

at game1 (15)

chance, chances, luck
chance means possibility There is a small chance he is still alive. You've got a good chance of passing. chance also means opportunity You will have the chance to meet the star of the show.chance also means that something happened by coincidence or was not planned It was pure chance that we bought the same shoes. Someone's chances are the probability that they will do something Her chances of finding him after all these years are slim. He aims to win today - what are his chances?!! Use chances of doing something, not 'chances to do something' Your chances of getting (NOT chances to get) a job are as good as anyone's.luck is when something good happens without being planned He won more through luck than skill. It was such luck that you were there to help me!

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