• noun the fact of being possible
  • noun the opportunity to do something


  • noun an opportunity for dismissing the striker, especially from a stroke that gives the fielding side a reasonable chance of taking a catch
    Citation ‘His century was marred by two chances early in the game’ (Headlam 1903)
    Citation ‘Yesterday, driving a trifle loosely for once through the off-side when on 238, he grazed Cummins’s fingertips … That was a questionable chance; more acceptable was his fallible scoop when on 413’ (David Foot, Guardian 7 June 1994)

Origin & History of “chance”

like the related case, chance originally meant ‘that which befalls (by accident, also a relative)’. It comes ultimately from vulgar Latin *cadēre, a descendant of Latin cadere ‘fall’ (source of English cadence and cadenza). this passed into Old French as cheoir, whose noun derivatives included cheoite (source of English chute) and cheance, acquired by English via Anglo-Norman chaunce.