Meaning of CHANCE in English

CHANCE

I. chance 1 S1 W1 /tʃɑːns $ tʃæns/ BrE AmE noun

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

1 . POSSIBILITY [uncountable and countable] the possibility that something will happen, especially something you want:

There’s always the chance that something will go wrong.

chance of

What are the team’s chances of success?

If we did move to London, I’d stand a much better chance (=have a much better chance) of getting a job.

There is little chance of her being found alive.

Chances are (=it is likely that) you’ll be fine.

2 . OPPORTUNITY [countable] a time or situation which you can use to do something that you want to do SYN opportunity

chance to do something

Ralph was waiting for a chance to introduce himself.

chance of

our only chance of escape

I’m sorry, I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet.

If someone invited me over to Florida, I’d jump at the chance (=use the opportunity eagerly) .

3 . RISK 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.

4 . LIKELY TO SUCCEED sb’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.

sb’s chances of doing something

England’s chances of winning the series have all but disappeared.

not fancy/not rate sb’s chances British English (=think someone is unlikely to succeed)

I don’t fancy their chances against Brazil.

► Do not say ‘someone’s chances to do something’. Say someone’s chances of doing something .

5 . LUCK [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.

6 . by any chance spoken used to ask politely whether something is true:

Are you Mrs Grant, by any chance?

7 . 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?

8 . 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.

9 . 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!’

10 . 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.

⇨ ↑ off-chance

11 . 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 ↑ game 1 (15)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ have/stand a chance (of something) (=it is possible you will do it)

I think you have a good chance of getting the job.

▪ give somebody a chance of doing something (=say how likely it is that they will do it)

He has been given a fifty-fifty chance of being fit for Sunday’s match.

▪ increase the chance of something

Certain foods increase the chance of heart disease.

▪ improve the chance of something

The book shows you how to improve your chance of success.

▪ reduce/lessen the chance of something

The talks were aimed at reducing the chance of war.

▪ ruin any chance of something (=make it impossible for something to happen)

Drinking alcohol can ruin any chance of weight loss.

▪ jeopardize any chance of something (=make something less likely to happen)

This could jeopardize any chance of a ceasefire.

■ adjectives

▪ a good chance (=when something is likely)

I think there is a good chance that he will say yes.

▪ every chance (=a good chance)

There’s every chance that the baby will survive.

▪ some chance

There’s some chance of snow later this week.

▪ a small/slight/slim chance

He only has a very small chance of being elected.

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There’s a slight chance of some sunshine in the west.

▪ no/little/not much chance

The prisoners knew there was little chance of escape.

▪ a one in three/four/ten etc chance (=used to say how likely something is)

People in their 30s have a one in 3,000 chance of getting the disease.

▪ a fair chance (=a fairly good chance)

If you work, you have a fair chance of passing the test.

▪ a sporting chance (=a fairly good chance)

The proposals had at least a sporting chance of being accepted.

▪ a fighting chance (=a small but real chance)

The Republican Party has a fighting chance at the next election.

▪ a fifty-fifty chance (=an equal chance that something will or will not happen)

I’d say there is a 50–50 chance that the deal will go through.

▪ an outside/a remote chance (=a very small chance)

He still has an outside chance of winning the championship.

▪ a million-to-one chance/a one in a million chance (=when something is extremely unlikely)

It must have been a million-to-one chance that we’d meet.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ get/have a chance to do something

I’d like a job in which I get the chance to travel.

▪ give somebody/offer/provide a chance

I was given the chance to play the main part in the play.

|

Sport provides a chance for you to get outside with friends.

▪ take a chance (=accept an opportunity)

If I was offered the chance to be in the team, I’d take it.

▪ jump at a chance (=use an opportunity eagerly)

Ed jumped at the chance to earn some extra money.

▪ grab/seize a chance (=quickly use an opportunity)

As soon as she stopped speaking, I grabbed the chance to leave.

▪ miss/lose a chance (=not use an opportunity)

He missed a chance to score just before half time.

▪ throw away/pass up/turn down a chance (=not accept or use an opportunity)

Imagine throwing up a chance to go to America!

▪ welcome the chance to do something

I’d welcome the chance to discuss the problem with someone.

▪ deserve a chance

Every kid deserves a chance in life.

▪ blow a chance informal (=have a special opportunity and fail to use it)

He thought he’d blown his chance of happiness.

■ adjectives

▪ a second chance/another chance

The interview went badly, so I didn’t think they would give me a second chance.

▪ sb’s last chance

This is my last chance to try and pass the exam.

■ phrases

▪ the chance of a lifetime (=one that you are very unlikely to have again)

If you don’t decide soon, you’ll have missed the chance of a lifetime.

▪ now’s your chance spoken (=you have the opportunity to do something now)

You’re not working so now’s your chance to write a book.

▪ given the chance/given half a chance (=if there is an opportunity to do something)

Goats will eat anything, given half a chance.

• • •

THESAURUS

▪ luck noun [uncountable] when good or bad things happen to people by chance:

The game involves an element of luck as well as skill.

▪ chance noun [uncountable] the way that some things happen without being planned or caused by people:

I met her by chance on a plane to Tokyo.

|

Like all top athletes, he leaves nothing to chance, and trains harder than anybody.

▪ fortune noun [uncountable] luck and the effect it has on your life:

I had the good fortune to work with some great people.

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The tour was dogged by ill fortune (=it had a lot of bad luck) from the start.

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Fortune has shone on the team so far this season (=they have been lucky) .

▪ fate noun [uncountable] a power that some people believe controls what happens to people and which cannot be changed or stopped:

Fate dealt him a cruel blow with the death of his wife at the age of 32.

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It must have been fate that brought them together, and fate that tore them apart.

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We can’t just leave it to fate.

▪ providence noun [uncountable] a power which some people believe controls what happens in our lives and protects us:

Do you believe in divine providence (=God’s power to make things happen) ?

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Her life was mapped out for her by providence.

▪ fluke noun [countable usually singular] informal something good that happens because of luck:

Their second goal was a fluke.

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They won by a fluke.

II. chance 2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [transitive] to do something that you know involves a risk:

I wasn’t sure if I’d got quite enough petrol to get me home, but I decided to chance it.

We decided not to chance our luck in the storm.

She’d never played before, but she was ready to chance her arm (=take a risk by doing something which may fail) .

chance doing something

I decided to stay where I was. I couldn’t chance being seen.

2 . [intransitive] literary to happen in a way which is not expected and not planned

chance to do something

She chanced to be passing when I came out of the house.

It chanced that we both went to Paris that year.

chance on/upon/across somebody/something phrasal verb formal

to find something or meet someone when you are not expecting to:

Henry chanced upon some valuable coins in the attic.

III. chance 3 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

not planned or expected SYN accidental

chance meeting/encounter/event etc

A chance meeting with a journalist changed everything.

A chance remark by one of his colleagues got him thinking.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.