Chance, v. i. [imp. & p.
p. Chanced (?); p. pr. & vb.
n. Chancing.] To happen, come, or arrive,
without design or expectation. "Things that chance
daily." Robynson (More's Utopia).
If a bird's nest chance to be before
Deut. xxii. 6.
I chanced on this letter.
Often used impersonally; as, how chances it?
How chance, thou art returned so soon?
Chance, adv. By chance;
Chance, 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. [Obs.]
Chance (chȧns), n. [F.
chance, OF. cheance, fr. LL. cadentia a
allusion to the falling of the dice), fr. L. cadere to
fall; akin to Skr. çad to fall, L. cedere to
yield, E. cede. Cf. Cadence.] 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.
Any society into which chance might throw
Which erring men call Chance.
2. The operation or activity of such
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;
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.
I spake of most disastrous chance.
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
5. (Math.) Probability.
☞ The mathematical expression, of a chance is the
ratio of frequency with which an event happens in the long run.
If an event may happen in a ways and may fail in b
ways, and each of these a + b ways is equally
likely, the chance, or probability, that the event will
happen is measured by the fraction a/a + b,
and the chance, or probability, that it will fail is
measured by b/a + b.
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, Doctrine 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.
Chance, a. Happening by