by chance

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a. The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
b. A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck: Chance will determine the outcome.
2. often chances The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability: Chances are good that you will win. Is there any chance of rain?
3. An accidental or unpredictable event: "He sprang to his feet and turned to run. At the same moment by a lucky chance the moon broke through the clouds" (Arthur Conan Doyle).
4. A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity: a chance to escape.
5. A risk or hazard; a gamble: took a chance that the ice would hold me.
6. Games A raffle or lottery ticket.
7. Baseball An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.
Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual: a chance encounter; a chance result.
tr.v. chanced, chanc·ing, chanc·es
1. To take the risk or hazard of: We thought we could jump over the puddle, but we were not willing to chance it.
2. To have the fortune (to be or do something); happen: "My eye chanced to fall on the wizened houseplant on the windowsill" (Elisabeth Brink).
3. Used with the impersonal subject it and a following clause or infinitive to indicate the occurrence of a usually unexpected or chance event: "Now it chanced that this car-line was owned by gentlemen who were trying to make money" (Upton Sinclair).
Phrasal Verb:
chance on (or upon)
To find or meet accidentally; happen upon: While in Paris we chanced on two old friends.
by chance
1. Without plan; accidentally: They met by chance on a plane.
2. Possibly; perchance: Is he, by chance, her brother?
on the off chance
In the slight hope or possibility.

[Middle English, unexpected event, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, from Latin cadēns, cadent-, present participle of cadere, to fall, befall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: chance, random, casual, haphazard, desultory
These adjectives apply to what is determined not by deliberation but by happenstance. Chance stresses lack of intention or premeditation: a chance meeting with a friend.
Random implies the absence of a specific pattern or objective: at the mercy of random events.
Casual stresses the indiscriminate or unpredictable nature of chance events: "the casual mutation of one of your liver cells from normal to cancerous" (John Barth).
Haphazard implies a carelessness or lack of control: "If unmarried significant others are invited to participate in the family support groups at all, it tends to be on a haphazard, informal basis" (Kristin Henderson).
Desultory denotes a sporadic or aimless sequence of events: "I lay on a shared cot listening to desultory gunfire" (Jan Clausen). See Also Synonyms at happen, opportunity.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: chance - through chance, "To sleep, perchance to dream.."
archaicism, archaism - the use of an archaic expression chance - by accident; "betrayed by a word haply overheard" chance - without advance planningby chance - without advance planning; "they met accidentally"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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(tʃaːns) noun
1. luck or fortune. It was by chance that I found out the truth.
2. an opportunity. Now you have a chance to do well.
3. a possibility. He has no chance of winning.
4. (a) risk. There's an element of chance in this business deal.
1. to risk. I may be too late but I'll just have to chance it.
2. to happen accidentally or unexpectedly. I chanced to see him last week.
happening unexpectedly. a chance meeting.
ˈchancy adjective
risky or uncertain. a chancy arrangement.
chance on/upon
1. to meet by accident. I chanced on a friend of yours.
2. to discover by accident. I chanced upon some information.
by any chance
used in enquiring about the possibility of something. Are you by any chance free tonight?
by chance
by luck; without planning. They met by chance.
an even chance
equal probability for and against. We have an even chance of success.
the chances are
it is likely (that). The chances are he can't come tomorrow.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Mrs d'Urberville's son had called on horseback, having been riding by chance in the direction of Marlott.
First, she might remark that, under uncertainty concerning which outcome will come about, it is only reasonable to guide oneself by chance, not by truth.