English

Definition of chance noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    chance

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//tʃɑːns//
     
    ; NAmE 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). chance of something We won't get another chance of a holiday 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 theatre. 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. Synonymsluckchance 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:Their early arrival was just an accident.fate the power that is believed to control everything that happens and that cannot be stopped or changed:Fate decreed that she would never reach America.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. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French cheance, from cheoir ‘fall, befall’, based on Latin cadere.Extra examples After a poor start, they are now in with a chance of winning the league. Are you by any chance Mr Ludd? As long as there is an outside chance, we will go for it. By a happy chance he bumped into an old friend on the plane. Chess is not a game of chance. Fat chance of him helping you! Given the chance, I’d retire tomorrow. He blew four of his seven save chances. He deserves the chance to give his side of the story. He didn’t want to risk the chance of being discovered. He doesn’t stand a chance of winning against such an experienced player. He had wasted a golden chance to make history. He had zero chance of survival. He realized that this might be his only chance to save himself. How do you rate our chances of finding her? I don’t fancy our chances of getting there on time. I finally had the chance to meet my hero. I got most answers right through sheer chance. I rang the company just on the off chance that they might have a vacancy. I would welcome the chance to give my opinion. I wouldn’t pass up the chance of working for them. If she let this chance slip, she would regret it for the rest of her life. It was a mistake which eliminated any chance of an Australian victory. Katie was his last real chance at happiness. Leaving nothing to chance, he delivered the letter himself. No child should be denied the chance of growing up in a family. She has every chance of passing the exam if she works hard. She played left-handed to give her opponent a fair chance. She spotted her chance of making a quick profit. Take every chance that comes your way. The doctors gave him little chance of surviving the night. The dog always runs off when it gets half a chance. The guide book didn’t mention the hotel, but we decided to take a chance. The manager took a chance on the young goalkeeper. The missing climber’s chances of survival are slim. The new college is intended to improve the life chances of children in the inner city. The police came upon the hideout purely by chance. The police were taking no chances with the protesters. The results could simply be due to chance. The teacher gave her one last chance to prove she could behave. The team created several clear chances but failed to score. There are no second chances in this business. There is a very real chance that the film will win an award. There is always an element of chance in buying a used car. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I’ll wear that thing! There was only a million-to-one chance of it happening. There’s a fair chance that nobody will come to the talk. They blew their chance to go second in the league. They have a 90 per cent chance of success. This is the ideal chance for him to show his ability. This is your big chance—grab it with both hands. Travis had left the door open—she seized her chance and was through it like a shot. What are his survival chances? When the chance came to go to Paris, she jumped at it. the variety with the best chance for success As chance would have it, John was going to London too. Jeff deceived me once already—I won’t give him a second chance. Nowdays a premature baby has a very good chance of survival. The car might break down but that’s a chance we’ll have to take. There’s a slight chance that she’ll be back in time. We met by chance at the airport. We won’t get another chance at a vacation this year. We’ll plan everything very carefully and leave nothing to chance. When installing electrical equipment don’t take any chances. You’ll have the opportunity/​chance to ask questions at the end.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 London too, so I went with him.
    be in with a chance (of doing something)
     
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    (British English, informal) to have the possibility of succeeding or achieving something ‘Do you think we'll win?’ ‘I think we're in with a chance.’ He's in with a good chance of passing the exam.
    used especially in questions, to ask whether something is true, possible, etc. Are you in love with him, by any chance?
    the chances are (that)…
     
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    (informal) it is likely that… The chances are you won't have to pay.
    chance would be a fine thing
     
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    (British English, informal) people say chance would be a fine thing to show that they would like to do or have the thing that somebody has mentioned, but that they do not think that it is very likely
    (a) fat chance (of something/doing something)
     
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    (informal) 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 small chance of being successful if a great effort is made We still have a fighting chance of beating them and winning the Cup. If you win this round then you still have a fighting chance.
    give somebody/something half a chance
     
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    to give somebody/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.
    (informal) there is no possibility ‘Do you think he'll do it?’ ‘No chance.’
    not have/stand a cat in hell’s chance (of doing something)
     
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    to have no chance at all
    not have a dog’s chance
     
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    to have no chance at all He hasn't a dog's chance of passing the exam.
    not have a snowball’s chance in hell
     
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    (informal) 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 called by on the off chance. She scanned the crowd on the off chance of seeing someone she knew. I called in at the office on the off chance that you would still be there.
    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.
    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.
    with an eye for/on/to the main chance
     
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    (British English, usually disapproving) with the hope of using a particular situation in order to gain some advantage for yourself
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: chance