from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
  • n. A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck: Chance will determine the outcome.
  • n. 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?
  • n. An accidental or unpredictable event.
  • n. A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity: a chance to escape.
  • n. A risk or hazard; a gamble: took a chance that the ice would hold me.
  • n. Games A raffle or lottery ticket.
  • n. Baseball An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.
  • adj. Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual: a chance encounter; a chance result.
  • intransitive v. To come about by chance; occur: It chanced that the train was late that day.
  • transitive v. To take the risk or hazard of: not willing to chance it.
  • on To find or meet accidentally; happen upon: While in Paris we chanced on two old friends.
  • idiom by chance Without plan; accidentally: They met by chance on a plane.
  • idiom by chance Possibly; perchance: Is he, by chance, her brother?
  • idiom on the off chance In the slight hope or possibility.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An opportunity or possibility.
  • n. Random occurrence; luck.
  • n. The probability of something happening.
  • v. To happen by chance, to occur.
  • v. To try or risk.
  • v. To discover something by chance.
  • adj. happening by chance, casual

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Happening by chance; casual.
  • adv. By chance; perchance.
  • n. A supposed material or psychical agent or mode of activity other than a force, law, or purpose; fortune; fate; -- in this sense often personified.
  • n. The operation or activity of such agent.
  • n. The supposed effect of such an agent; something that befalls, as the result of unknown or unconsidered forces; the issue of uncertain conditions; an event not calculated upon; an unexpected occurrence; a happening; accident; fortuity; casualty.
  • n. A possibility; a likelihood; an opportunity; -- with reference to a doubtful result.
  • n. Probability.
  • intransitive v. To happen, come, or arrive, without design or expectation.
  • transitive v. To take the chances of; to venture upon; -- usually with it as object.
  • transitive v. To befall; to happen to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Fall; falling.
  • n. A throw of dice; the number turned up by a die.
  • n. Hence Risk; hazard; a balanced possibility of gain or loss, particularly in gaming; uncertainty.
  • n. A contingent or unexpected event; an event which might or might not befall.
  • n. Vicissitude; contingent or unexpected events in a series or collectively.
  • n. Luck; fortune; that which happens to or befalls one.
  • n. Opportunity; a favorable contingency: as, now is your chance.
  • n. Probability; the proportion of events favorable to a hypothesis out of all those which may occur: as, the chances are against your succeeding.
  • n. Fortuity; especially, the absence of a cause necessitating an event, or the absence of any known reason why an event should turn out one way rather than another, spoken of as if it were a real agency; the variability of an event under given general conditions, viewed as a real agency.
  • Resulting from or due to chance; casual; unexpected: as, a chance remark; a chance customer.
  • Synonyms Casual, Fortuitous, etc. See accidental.
  • To happen; fall out; come or arrive without design or expectation.
  • To befall or happen to.
  • To risk; hazard; take the chances of: as, the thing may be dangerous, but I will chance it.
  • By chance; perchance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a risk involving danger
  • adj. occurring or appearing or singled out by chance
  • n. an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another
  • 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
  • n. a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances
  • n. the possibility of future success
  • v. come upon, as if by accident; meet with
  • v. be the case by chance
  • v. take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, unexpected event, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, from Latin cadēns, cadent-, present participle of cadere, to fall, befall.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French cheance ("accident, chance, luck"), from Vulgar Latin cadentia ("falling"), from Latin cadō ("I fall, I die").



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  • French luck.

    January 9, 2008