Definition of Chance

Pronunciation: chåns
n.1.A supposed material or psychical agent or mode of activity other than a force, law, or purpose; fortune; fate; - in this sense often personified.
It is strictly and philosophically true in nature and reason that there is no such thing as chance or accident; it being evident that these words do not signify anything really existing, anything that is truly an agent or the cause of any event; but they signify merely men's ignorance of the real and immediate cause.
- Samuel Clark.
Any society into which chance might throw him.
- Macaulay.
That power
Which erring men call Chance.
- Milton.
2.The operation or activity of such agent.
By chance a priest came down that way.
- Luke x. 31.
3.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.
In the field of observation, chance favors only the mind that is prepared.
- Louis Pasteur.
It was a chance that happened to us.
- 1 Sam. vi. 9.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,
And wins (O shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
- Pope.
I spake of most disastrous chance.
- Shak.
4.A possibility; a likelihood; an opportunity; - with reference to a doubtful result; as, a chance to escape; a chance for life; the chances are all against him.
So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune.
That I would get my life on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on 't
- Shak.
5.(Math.) Probability.
Chance comer
one who comes unexpectedly.
The last chance
the sole remaining ground of hope.
The main chance
the chief opportunity; that upon which reliance is had, esp. self-interest.
Theory of chances
(Math.) that branch of mathematics which treats of the probability of the occurrence of particular events, as the fall of dice in given positions.
To mind one's chances
to take advantage of every circumstance; to seize every opportunity.
v. i.1.To happen, come, or arrive, without design or expectation.
[imp. & p. p. Chanced ; p. pr. & vb. n. Chancing.]
If a bird's nest chance to be before thee.
- Deut. xxii. 6.
I chanced on this letter.
- Shak.
How chance, thou art returned so soon?
- Shak.
v. t.1.To take the chances of; to venture upon; - usually with it as object.
Come what will, I will chance it.
- W. D. Howells.
2.To befall; to happen to.
a.1.Happening by chance; casual.
adv.1.By chance; perchance.

Related Words

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Champlain period
Chance comer
Chance of survivorship
Chancel aisle
Chancel arch
Chancel casement
Chancel table
Chancellor of a bishop
Chancellor of a cathedral
Chancellor of a university
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the exchequer
Chancellor of the order of the Garter
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