Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Without reasons I was sure of, you know, so there could be no chance of any mistake.

And what avails skill in music, if there is no chance to display it?

But if she had any such thing I'm sure it was ended, and she'd have jumped at this chance a year ago.

He took a cab and was driven to the local branch of his favourite temple of chance.

Will you take care of some money for me until I get a chance to deposit it in the savings bank?

Is there any chance of making Mr. Davis return the money my father deposited with him?

In the broad pathways of the ocean such a chance is doubtful.

"There is not one chance in ten that he is living," he said.

He drove first to the Milbrey house, on the chance that she might be at home.

I know more than one New York girl who'd have jumped at the chance.


c.1300, "something that takes place, what happens, an occurrence" (good or bad, but more often bad), from Old French cheance "accident, chance, fortune, luck, situation, the falling of dice" (12c., Modern French chance), from Vulgar Latin *cadentia "that which falls out," a term used in dice, from neuter plural of Latin cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)).

In English frequently in plural, chances. The word's notions of "opportunity" and "randomness" are as old as the record of it in English and now all but crowd out the word's original notion of "mere occurrence." Main chance "thing of most importance" is from 1570s, bearing the older sense. The mathematical (and hence odds-making) sense is attested from 1778. To stand a chance (or not) is from 1796.

To take (one's) chances "accept what happens" (early 14c.) is from the old, neutral sense; to take a chance/take chances is originally (by 1814) "participate in a raffle or lottery or game;" extended sense of "take a risk" is by 1826.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.