A chance is a possibility — but it's not a sure thing. There could be a chance of rain today or a chance you'll be the lead in the school play.

Chance is sometimes about opportunity, as in getting a chance to try out for the baseball team. Sometimes it's just luck, as in taking a chance on a new car through a raffle at school. You could meet someone by chance, and you could say, "I chanced upon him at a coffee shop." Sometimes the word implies danger, as in "He took a chance when he signed up for skydiving." In any case, a chance is never a sure thing.

Primary Meanings of chance

an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another
occurring or appearing or singled out by chance
come upon, as if by accident; meet with
a risk involving danger
take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome
Full Definitions of chance

n an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another

“we ran into each other by pure chance
fortune, hazard, luck
bad luck, mischance, mishap
an unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate
even chance, toss-up, tossup
an unpredictable phenomenon
Type of:
any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning

n a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances

“now is your chance
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brass ring
a rich opportunity or a prize
a period of opportunity
clean slate, fresh start, tabula rasa
an opportunity to start over without prejudice
audience, hearing
an opportunity to state your case and be heard
hunting ground
a place where opportunities abound
an opportunity to do something
opportunity especially for employment or promotion
opportunity for
the chance to speak
crack, shot
a chance to do something
a situation offering opportunities
a single chance or instance
cut-rate sale, sale, sales event
an occasion (usually brief) for buying at specially reduced prices
Type of:
possibility, possibleness
capability of existing or happening or being true

n the possibility of future success

Type of:
potency, potential, potentiality
the inherent capacity for coming into being

n a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible

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conditional probability, contingent probability
the probability that an event will occur given that one or more other events have occurred
cross section
(physics) the probability that a particular interaction (as capture or ionization) will take place between particles; measured in barns
(geology) the probability that an earthquake will generate a level of ground motion that exceeds a specified reference level during a given exposure time
fair chance, sporting chance
a reasonable probability of success
fat chance, slim chance
little or no chance of success
joint probability
the probability of two events occurring together
risk, risk of exposure
the probability of being exposed to an infectious agent
risk, risk of infection
the probability of becoming infected given that exposure to an infectious agent has occurred
Type of:
amount, measure, quantity
how much there is or how many there are of something that you can quantify

adj occurring or appearing or singled out by chance

“a chance occurrence”
without apparent forethought or prompting or planning

v come upon, as if by accident; meet with

“She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day”
bump, encounter, find, happen

v be the case by chance

“I chanced to meet my old friend in the street”
chance to be or do something, without intention or causation
Type of:
come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place
come to pass

n a risk involving danger

“you take a chance when you let her drive”
Type of:
danger, peril, risk
a venture undertaken without regard to possible loss or injury

v take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome

adventure, gamble, hazard, risk, run a risk, take a chance, take chances
go for broke
risk everything in one big effort
luck it, luck through
act by relying on one's luck
Type of:
assay, attempt, essay, seek, try
make an effort or attempt

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