# Coincidence vs. Chance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on October 30, 2023
"Coincidence" refers to the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have a connection, while "chance" relates to the probability of something happening.

## Key Differences

"Coincidence" involves two or more events that unexpectedly happen simultaneously or in sequence, seemingly related but not intentionally caused. "Chance," on the other hand, denotes the likelihood or probability of an event or occurrence.
An event deemed a "coincidence" might be surprising because of its perceived connection to another event, despite there being no causal relationship. "Chance" does not necessarily imply any connection between events, but rather focuses on the odds or probability of an event's occurrence.
While "coincidence" carries with it a sense of surprise and often amazement due to the unexpected alignment of events, "chance" is more neutral, primarily indicating possibility or odds without any implied connection between multiple events.
When we encounter unexpected synchronicities in our lives, we often label them as "coincidences." Yet, when we evaluate the likelihood of something happening, we're discussing "chance."
It's essential to understand that "coincidence" refers more to the serendipitous alignment of events, while "chance" revolves around statistical likelihood without necessarily implying any interconnectedness.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

A surprising conjunction of events without causal connection.
The likelihood or probability of something happening.

### Implication

Unexpected alignment of events.
Possibility or odds.

### Connection

Implies a perceived connection between events.
Does not imply a connection between events.

### Emotional Connotation

Often carries a sense of surprise or amazement.
More neutral, indicating possibility.

### Usage

"It's a coincidence that we wore the same dress."
"There's a high chance of rain tomorrow."

## Coincidence and Chance Definitions

#### Coincidence

A surprising conjunction of events without causal connection.
It was just a coincidence that they arrived at the same time.

#### Chance

The occurrence of events without apparent cause.
I met her by chance at the grocery store.

#### Coincidence

Occurrences that seem related but are not.
Their meeting was pure coincidence, not planned.

#### Chance

The possibility of something happening.
There's a good chance it will rain today.

#### Coincidence

Events that align unexpectedly.
The coincidence of the two events was astonishing.

#### Chance

The probability of an event occurring.
The chances of winning the lottery are slim.

#### Coincidence

The fact of corresponding in nature or in time of occurrence.
The coincidence of interest made them lifelong friends.

#### Chance

The absence of any cause of events that can be predicted.
Everything is left to chance.

#### Coincidence

An instance of two things occurring together.
The coincidence of the lights going out as I entered was eerie.

#### Chance

The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.

#### Coincidence

The state or fact of occupying the same relative position or area in space.

#### Chance

A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck
Chance will determine the outcome.

#### Coincidence

A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.

#### Chance

Often chances The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability
Chances are good that you will win. Is there any chance of rain?.

#### Coincidence

Of objects, the property of being coincident; occurring at the same time or place.

#### Chance

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).

#### Coincidence

Of events, the appearance of a meaningful connection when there is none.
That the two writers were born and died on the same day is just a coincidence, although there are many conspiracy theories about it.

#### Chance

A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity
A chance to escape.

#### Coincidence

(analysis) A coincidence point.

#### Chance

A risk or hazard; a gamble
Took a chance that the ice would hold me.

#### Coincidence

(geometry) A fixed point of a correspondence; a point of a variety corresponding to itself under a correspondence.

#### Chance

(Games) A raffle or lottery ticket.

#### Coincidence

The condition of occupying the same place in space; as, the coincidence of circles, surfaces, etc.

#### Chance

(Baseball) An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.

#### Coincidence

The condition or fact of happening at the same time; as, the coincidence of the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

#### Chance

Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual
A chance encounter.
A chance result.

#### Coincidence

Exact correspondence in nature, character, result, circumstances, etc.; concurrence; agreement.
The very concurrence and coincidence of so many evidences . . . carries a great weight.
Those who discourse . . . of the nature of truth . . . affirm a perfect coincidence between truth and goodness.

#### Chance

To take the risk or hazard of
We thought we could jump over the puddle, but we were not willing to chance it.

#### Coincidence

An event that might have been arranged although it was really accidental

#### Chance

To have the fortune (to be or do something); happen
"My eye chanced to fall on the wizened houseplant on the windowsill" (Elisabeth Brink).

#### Coincidence

The quality of occupying the same position or area in space;
He waited for the coincidence of the target and the cross hairs

#### Chance

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).

#### Coincidence

The temporal property of two things happening at the same time;
The interval determining the coincidence gate is adjustable

#### Chance

(countable) An opportunity or possibility.
We had the chance to meet the president last week.

#### Chance

(uncountable) Random occurrence; luck.
Why leave it to chance when a few simple steps will secure the desired outcome?

#### Chance

(countable) The probability of something happening.
There is a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow.

#### Chance

(in plural as chances) probability; possibility.

#### Chance

What befalls or happens to a person; their lot or fate.

#### Chance

Happening by chance, casual.

#### Chance

(obsolete) Perchance; perhaps.

#### Chance

To happen by chance, to occur.
It chanced that I found a solution the very next day.

#### Chance

To befall; to happen to.

#### Chance

To try or risk.
Shall we carry the umbrella, or chance a rainstorm?

#### Chance

To discover something by chance.
He chanced upon a kindly stranger who showed him the way.

#### Chance

(Belize) To rob, cheat or swindle someone.
The car broke down a week after I bought it. I was chanced by that fast-talking salesman.

#### Chance

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 him.
That powerWhich erring men call Chance.

#### Chance

The operation or activity of such agent.
By chance a priest came down that way.

#### Chance

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; fortuity; casualty.
In the field of observation, chance favors only the mind that is prepared.
It was a chance that happened to us.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,And wins (O shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
I spake of most disastrous chance.

#### Chance

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

Probability.

#### Chance

To happen, come, or arrive, without design or expectation.
If a bird's nest chance to be before thee.
I chanced on this letter.
How chance, thou art returned so soon?

#### Chance

To take the chances of; to venture upon; - usually with it as object.
Come what will, I will chance it.

#### Chance

To befall; to happen to.

#### Chance

Happening by chance; casual.

#### Chance

By chance; perchance.

#### Chance

A possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances;
The holiday gave us the opportunity to visit Washington

#### Chance

An unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another;
We ran into each other by pure chance

#### Chance

A risk involving danger;
You take a chance when you let her drive

#### Chance

A measure of how likely it is that some event will occur;
What is the probability of rain?
We have a good chance of winning

#### Chance

Be the case by chance;
I chanced to meet my old friend in the street

#### Chance

Take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome;
When you buy these stocks you are gambling

#### Chance

Come upon, as if by accident; meet with;
We find this idea in Plato
I happened upon the most wonderful bakery not very far from here
She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day

#### Chance

Occurring or appearing or singled out by chance;
Their accidental meeting led to a renewal of their friendship
Seek help from casual passers-by
A casual meeting
A chance occurrence

#### Chance

An opportunity to do something.
He was given a second chance to take the test.

## FAQs

#### Is chance always measurable?

Not always, but in many contexts, chance can be expressed as a probability.

#### Can you improve your chances?

In many scenarios, yes. For instance, studying can improve one's chances of passing a test.

#### Can a coincidence be intentional?

No, coincidences are by nature unexpected and not planned.

#### Is chance always random?

Chance deals with the likelihood of unpredictable events, but not all chances are entirely random.

#### Is fate the same as coincidence?

No, fate implies destiny or predetermined events, while coincidence is about unexpected events with no causal connection.

#### Can chance be certain?

If the likelihood is 100%, then the event is certain, but typically "chance" implies some level of uncertainty.

#### Does a coincidence imply a deeper meaning?

Coincidences are events without a causal connection, though some may interpret them as having deeper significance.

#### Are coincidences common?

While the definition of coincidence implies unexpectedness, small coincidences happen frequently in daily life.

#### Can we calculate chance in everyday life?

While formal calculations might not always be feasible, people often estimate chances based on experience.

#### Do coincidences have to be simultaneous?

No, coincidences can be sequential or have some time lapse, yet still be considered coincidental.

#### Are odds and chance the same?

Odds express a ratio of likelihood, while chance is a broader term for the probability of an event occurring.

#### Can two related events be a coincidence?

Yes, if the events unexpectedly align without being caused by one another, they can be considered a coincidence.

#### Is luck the same as chance?

Luck refers to success or failure apparently brought by chance, whereas chance is the likelihood of an event.

#### Can coincidences be explained?

Some can be attributed to common causes or patterns, while others remain unexplained.

#### Are all coincidences surprising?

Not necessarily, but many coincidences are noticed due to their unexpected nature.