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Related to chances: Life chances


in mathematics: see probabilityprobability,
in mathematics, assignment of a number as a measure of the "chance" that a given event will occur. There are certain important restrictions on such a probability measure.
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  1. the PROBABILITYof an event, such as the occurrence of heads or tails on the toss of a coin.
  2. social or physical outcomes which are unforseen and perhaps inherently unpredictable.
Chance arises from the existence of physical or social processes which involve random events, a multiplicity of interacting variables in ‘open systems’ (including the changeability of actors' choices), and because actors’ intentions often have UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES. While an inherent CONTINGENCY in social events is seen by some theorists as ruling out general theories, this neglects the availability of generalized ‘probabilistic’ accounts and the fact that it is the goal of general theories to abstract from particular events (and provide EXPLANATION or analytical frameworks), not necessarily to predict or control events.

Coping with chance in social life is a source of MAGIC and RELIGION and the basis of important leisure forms, including games of chance and GAMBLING. See also RISK SOCIETY.


See also Fate.
Charity (See GENEROSITY.)
Bridoison, Taiel de
judge who casts dice to decide cases. [Fr. Lit.: Pantagruel]
Fata Morgana
lake-dwelling sorceress and personification of chance. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Innamorato]
goddess of chance. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 58]
Jimmy the Greek
renowned American oddsmaker. [Am. Culture: Wallechinsky, 468]
Russian roulette
suicidal gamble involving a six-shooter, loaded with one bullet. [Folklore: Payton, 590]
god of chance. [Rom. Myth.: Espy, 42–43]
Three Princes of Serendip
always make discoveries by accident. [Br. Lit.: Three Princes of Serendip]
Urim and Thummin
oracular gems used for casting lots, set in Aaron’s breastplate. [O.T.: Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8]
References in classic literature ?
Though if a sufficient number of these bats attacked a man at the same time, he would have small chance to escape alive.
In course of time he'll come back again on our hands, like a bad shilling; more chances will fall in his way, as a necessary consequence of his meritorious imbecility.
Chance alone, it was clear, had brought Colonel Proctor on this train; but there he was, and it was necessary, at all hazards, that Phileas Fogg should not perceive his adversary.
He ate more than I did, and it was in vain I pointed out that our only chance of life was to stop in the house until the Martians had done with their pit, that in that long patience a time might presently come when we should need food.
A fellow has now no chance of promotion unless he jumps into the muzzle of a gun and crawls out of the touch-hole.
I was aware that he entertained a cordial detestation of the ship, and believed that, should a fair chance of escape present itself, he would embrace it willingly.
This proposition was evidently but little relished by any of the listeners, even the negro feeling the evil excitement of the chances.
Besides, as you say, men ought to MAKE their own chances, and not wait until they are given.
And it must appear an astonishing conjunction of genius with a whole series of extraordinary chances that this ram, who instead of getting into the general fold every evening goes into a special enclosure where there are oats- that this very ram, swelling with fat, is killed for meat.
The chances appealed to him--the chances of life and death, with his prowess and his faculties pitted against those of a worthy antagonist.
The gale that was blowing was, he believed, the cause of the delay in getting the Kincaid under way, and if it continued to blow until night then the chances were all in his favour, for he knew that there was little likelihood of the ape-man attempting to navigate the tortuous channel of the Ugambi while darkness lay upon the surface of the water, hiding the many bars and the numerous small islands which are scattered over the expanse of the river's mouth.
Aloud he cursed himself for having taken the last draw, for now his chances for escape were but three to one, whereas Monsieur Thuran's had been five to one, and Clayton's four to one.