American English

Definition of chance noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    chance

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//tʃæns//
     
     
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  1. 1 [countable, uncountable] a possibility of something happening, especially something that you want chance of doing something Is there any chance of getting tickets for tonight? She has only a slim chance of passing the exam. chance that… There's a slight chance that he'll be back in time. There is no chance that he will change his mind. chance of something happening What chance is there of anybody being found alive? chance of something Nowadays a premature baby has a very good chance of survival. The operation has a fifty-fifty chance of success. an outside chance (= a very small one) The chances are a million to one against being struck by lightning.
  2. 2 [countable] a suitable time or situation when you have the opportunity to do something It was the chance she had been waiting for. Jeff deceived me once already—I won't give him a second chance. This is your big chance (= opportunity for success). I just had to accept the offer. It was the chance of a lifetime (= an opportunity that you only get once). chance of something We won't get another chance of a vacation this year. chance to do something Please give me a chance to explain. Tonight is your last chance to catch the play at your local theater. She jumped at the chance (= eagerly took the chance) to play the role. chance for somebody to do something There will be a chance for parents to look around the school.
  3. 3[countable] an unpleasant or dangerous possibility When installing electrical equipment don't take any chances. A mistake could kill. The car might break down but that's a chance we'll have to take.
  4. 4[uncountable] the way that some things happen without any cause that you can see or understand I met her by chance (= without planning to) at the airport. Chess is not a game of chance. It was pure chance that we were both there. We'll plan everything very carefully and leave nothing to chance. Thesaurusluckchance coincidence accident fate destinyThese are all words for things that happen or the force that causes them to happen.luck the force that causes good or bad things to happen to people:This ring has always brought me good luck.chance the way that some things happen without any cause that you can see or understand:The results could simply be due to chance.coincidence the fact of two things happening at the same time by chance, in a surprising way:They met through a series of strange coincidences.accident something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance:I discovered the book by accident while shopping for a birthday present.fate the power that is believed to control everything that happens and that cannot be stopped or changed:Fate decreed that she would not get married that day.destiny the power that is believed to control events:I believe there's some force guiding us—call it God, destiny, or fate.fate or destiny?Fate can be kind, but this is an unexpected gift; just as often, fate is cruel and makes people feel helpless. Destiny is more likely to give people a sense of power: people who have a strong sense of destiny usually believe that they are meant to be great or do great things.Patterns by …luck/chance/coincidence/accident It's no coincidence/accident >that…> pure/sheer luck/chance/coincidence/accident to believe in luck/coincidences/fate/destiny
  5. Idioms
    as chance would have it
     
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    happening in a way that was lucky, although it was not planned As chance would have it, John was going to San Francisco too, so I went with him.
    by any chance
     
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    used especially in questions, to ask whether something is true, possible, etc. Are you in love with him, by any chance?
    chances are (that)… (informal)
     
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    it is likely that… Chances are you won't have to pay.
    (a) fat chance (of something/doing something) (informal)
     
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    used for saying that you do not believe something is likely to happen “They might let us in without tickets.” “Fat chance of that!”
    a fighting chance
     
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    a small chance of being successful if a great effort is made We still have a fighting chance of beating them and winning the tournament. If you win this round then you still have a fighting chance.
    give somebody/something half a chance
     
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    to give someone or something some opportunity to do something That dog will give you a nasty bite, given half a chance.
    have an even chance (of doing something)
     
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    to be equally likely to do or not do something She has more than an even chance of winning tomorrow. There's an even chance that the jury will find him guilty.
    no chance (informal)
     
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    there is no possibility “Do you think he'll do it?” “No chance.”
    not have a snowball's chance in hell (informal)
     
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    to have no chance at all
    on the off chance (that)
     
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    because of the possibility of something happening, although it is unlikely I didn't think you'd be at home but I just stopped by on the off chance.
    a sporting chance
     
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    a reasonable chance of success
    stand a chance (of doing something)
     
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    to have the possibility of succeeding or achieving something The driver didn't stand a chance of stopping in time.
    take a chance (on something)
     
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    to decide to do something, knowing that it might be the wrong choice We took a chance on the weather and planned to have the party outside.
    take your chances
     
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    to take a risk or to use the opportunities that you have and hope that things will happen in the way that you want He took his chances and jumped into the water.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: chance