1 noun
1 POSSIBILITY (C, U) how possible or likely it is that something will happen, especially something that you want: chance/chances of: What are her chances of survival? | there's a chance (that): There's always the chance that something will go wrong. | a good/fair/slight chance (of): The day will be cloudy with a slight chance of some rain later tonight. | some/no/little chance: There seems to be little chance of a ceasefire. | chances are spoken (=used to say that something is likely): Chances are they'll be out when we call. | a fifty-fifty chance (=when the chances of something happening or not happening are equal) | a chance in a million (=a chance that you are very unlikely to have again): I couldn't pass up going to Japan; it was a chance in a million. | a million to one chance (=when something is extremely unlikely to happen)
a) 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. | not fancy/not rate sb's chances BrE (=think someone is unlikely to succeed)
b) stand/have a chance (of) if someone or something stands a chance of doing something, it is possible that they will succeed: stand a good chance (=be likely to succeed): If we did move to London, I'd stand a much better chance of getting a job. | have an outside chance (=has a slight chance of success) | have a sporting chance (=have a fairly good chance of success) | have a fighting chance (=have a small but real chance of success if a great effort can be made)
c) be in with a chance if a competitor is in with a chance, it is possible that they will win: There's three of us going for promotion, but I figure I'm in with a chance.
3 by any chance spoken used to ask politely whether something is true: Are you Mrs Grant, by any chance?
4 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?
5 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!"
6 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.
7 OPPORTUNITY (C) a time or situation which you can use to do something that you want to do: chance to do sth: Ralph was waiting for a chance to introduce himself.
(+ of): our only chance of escape | have/ get a chance: I never get a chance to relax these days. | give sb a chance: I can explain everything if you'll just give me a chance. | take the chance (=use the opportunity): You should take the chance to travel while you're still young. | grab the chance/jump at the chance (=eagerly and quickly use an opportunty): You're so lucky. If someone invited me over to Florida, I'd jump at the chance. | miss a chance (=fail to use the opportunity): Denise never misses the chance of a free meal. | a second chance/another chance (=another chance after you have failed the first time): Students will be given further training and a second chance to pass the exam. | last chance: Friday is your last chance to see the show before it closes. | You really ought to be punished, but I'll give you one last chance. (=opportunity to behave well) | the chance of a lifetime (=an opportunity you are not likely to get more than once) | now's your chance spoken (=used to tell someone to do something immediately because there is a good opportunity): Quick! Now's your chance to ask her, before she leaves. | given half a chance spoken (=if someone were given even a small opportunity): Rick could do really well, given half a chance.
8 RISK take a chance to do something that involves risks: The rope might break but that's a chance we'll have to take. | take chances: After losing $20,000 on my last business venture, I'm not taking any chances this time. | take a chance on (=take a chance hoping things will happen in the way you want): I haven't reserved a table. I'm taking a chance on the restaurant not being full.
9 LUCK (U) the way some things happen without being planned or caused by people: Success is rarely a matter of chance. You have to work at it. | by chance (=without being planned or intended): I bumped into her quite by chance in Oxford Street. | pure/sheer/blind chance (=nothing except chance): It was pure chance that they ended up working in the same office in the same town. | as chance would have it (=happening in a way that was not expected or intended): As chance would have it, the one time I wanted to see her, she wasn't in.
10 chance would be a fine thing! spoken used to mean that the thing you want to happen is very unlikely: "If he asked me to marry him, I might say yes." "Chance would be a fine thing!" (=he's unlikely to ask)
-see also: game of chance game 1 (11) USAGE NOTE: CHANCE WORD CHOICE: chance, opportunity, occasion Both chance and opportunity can be used for a situation that is suitable for doing something that you want to do: I'll have a chance/an opportunity to visit Niagara Falls when I'm in the States . You can get/take/grab/jump at/miss the opportunity/chance to do something and give someone the opportunity/chance to do something. Chance is also used to say it is possible that something might happen. There is a chance that I'll see him (=perhaps I'll see him). An occasion is a moment when something happens, especially when the same thing happens several times: I met her on several occasions (=several times). | On this occasion I was late (NOT In this occasion... or just This occasion...). An occasion can also be an event: Christmas is a special occasion. In formal English occasion (usually (U)) can also mean `reason': The poor service gave them occasion to complain (=caused them to complain). SPELLING Remember the two 'p's in opportunity. 2 verb
1 informal to do something that you know involves a risk: chance it: If we creep in quietly, maybe no one will notice. Anyway, let's chance it. | chance your luck: You may lose all you money, but you'll just have to chance your luck like everyone else.
2 literary to happen in an unexpected and unplanned way: chance to do sth: She chanced to be passing when I came out of the house. | it chanced that: It chanced that we were both working in Paris that year.
chance on/upon sb/sth phrasal verb (T) to find something or meet someone when you are not expecting to: Henry chanced upon some valuable coins in the attic. 3 adjective (only before noun) not planned; accidental: Their chance meeting brought them back together after seven years apart.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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