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Probability vs. Chance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 18, 2023
Probability is a mathematical measure of the likelihood of an event occurring, often expressed as a ratio or percentage. Chance is a more general term that refers to the occurrence of random events without the precise quantification that probability offer

Key Differences

Probability is a concept rooted in mathematics and statistics that quantifies the likelihood of a particular event happening. It is often expressed as a fraction, decimal, or percentage. Chance, on the other hand, is a more colloquial term that refers to the possibility of something happening but doesn't necessarily involve a quantifiable measure. Probability is about precision, whereas chance is more about a general sense of likelihood.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
In daily language, people might use "chance" and "probability" interchangeably, but they carry different connotations. When someone talks about the probability of rain, they might refer to a specific percentage given by a weather forecast. When speaking about the chance of rain, the language is generally less precise and might involve terms like "likely" or "unlikely."
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
From a grammatical standpoint, "probability" is a countable noun, often used with modifiers like "high" or "low" to indicate the level of likelihood. "Chance" can be both a countable and uncountable noun, and it can also function as a verb, as in "to chance upon something." Both words can be used as nouns to describe the concept of likelihood, but their usage varies based on context and the degree of specificity involved.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
In terms of their origins, "probability" comes from the Latin word "probabilitas," which means "provable," emphasizing its roots in mathematical proof. "Chance," however, comes from the Latin word "cadentia," meaning "falling," as in the fall of dice, underscoring its roots in randomness and unpredictability. While both terms deal with the likelihood of events, probability involves a degree of mathematical rigor that chance typically does not.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Mathematical measure of likelihood
General term for likelihood
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
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Grammatical Category

Countable Noun
Countable and Uncountable Noun, Verb
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Precision

High
Low
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Common Modifiers

High, low, zero
Good, slim, fat
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Origin

Latin "probabilitas"
Latin "cadentia"
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Probability and Chance Definitions

Probability

The measure of the likelihood of an event occurring.
The probability of rolling a six on a die is 1/6.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
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Chance

The occurrence of events in the absence of any obvious design or cause.
He met her by chance in a bookstore.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Probability

A quantifiable assessment of risk.
The probability of a hurricane hitting the coast is increasing.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Chance

A possibility or likelihood of something happening.
There's a good chance of rain today.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Probability

A statistical metric expressed as a ratio, fraction, or percentage.
The probability of winning the lottery is extremely low.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Chance

An opportunity to do something.
He had the chance to travel abroad.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Probability

A mathematical calculation involving outcomes and sample spaces.
In a deck of cards, the probability of drawing an Ace is 4/52.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Chance

The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The quality or condition of being probable; likelihood.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck
Chance will determine the outcome.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

A probable situation, condition, or event
Her election is a clear probability.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Often chances The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability
Chances are good that you will win. Is there any chance of rain?.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The likelihood that a given event will occur
Little probability of rain tonight.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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).
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

(Statistics) A number, ranging from zero to one, expressing either the projected likelihood that a specific event will occur or the observed ratio of the number of actual occurrences to the number of possible occurrences.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity
A chance to escape.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The state of being probable; likelihood.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A risk or hazard; a gamble
Took a chance that the ice would hold me.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

An event that is likely to occur.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

(Games) A raffle or lottery ticket.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The relative likelihood of an event happening.
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May 28, 2023

Chance

(Baseball) An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

(mathematics) A number, between 0 and 1, expressing the precise likelihood of an event happening.
The probability of an event A occurring is denoted P(A).
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual
A chance encounter.
A chance result.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The quality or state of being probable; appearance of reality or truth; reasonable ground of presumption; likelihood.
Probability is the appearance of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, by the intervention of proofs whose connection is not constant, but appears for the most part to be so.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To take the risk or hazard of
We thought we could jump over the puddle, but we were not willing to chance it.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

That which is or appears probable; anything that has the appearance of reality or truth.
The whole life of man is a perpetual comparison of evidence and balancing of probabilities.
We do not call for evidence till antecedent probabilities fail.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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).
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

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
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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).
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The quality of being probable
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

(countable) An opportunity or possibility.
We had the chance to meet the president last week.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Probability

The degree of certainty that a particular event will occur.
The probability of rain tomorrow is 90%.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Chance

(uncountable) Random occurrence; luck.
Why leave it to chance when a few simple steps will secure the desired outcome?
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

(countable) The probability of something happening.
There is a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

(in plural as chances) probability; possibility.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

What befalls or happens to a person; their lot or fate.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Happening by chance, casual.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

(obsolete) Perchance; perhaps.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To happen by chance, to occur.
It chanced that I found a solution the very next day.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To befall; to happen to.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To try or risk.
Shall we carry the umbrella, or chance a rainstorm?
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To discover something by chance.
He chanced upon a kindly stranger who showed him the way.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

The operation or activity of such agent.
By chance a priest came down that way.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Probability.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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?
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To take the chances of; to venture upon; - usually with it as object.
Come what will, I will chance it.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

To befall; to happen to.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Happening by chance; casual.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

By chance; perchance.
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances;
The holiday gave us the opportunity to visit Washington
Now is your chance
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

An unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another;
Bad luck caused his downfall
We ran into each other by pure chance
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A risk involving danger;
You take a chance when you let her drive
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Be the case by chance;
I chanced to meet my old friend in the street
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

Take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome;
When you buy these stocks you are gambling
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

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
Sawaira Riaz
May 28, 2023

Chance

A risk or gamble.
He took a chance on a new investment.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Chance

Randomness or unpredictability.
The outcome was left to chance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

FAQs

What is Chance?

Chance is the general term for the likelihood or possibility of an event.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What is Probability?

Probability is a mathematical measure of the likelihood of an event.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Probability More Precise Than Chance?

Yes, probability is often expressed as a ratio, fraction, or percentage.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can Chance Be a Verb?

Yes, "to chance upon" means to find or discover something by accident.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Do Probability and Chance Mean the Same Thing?

They are similar but not synonymous; probability is more precise.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can Chance Be Quantified?

Chance can sometimes be quantified but is generally less precise than probability.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

What Fields Use Probability?

Probability is used in mathematics, statistics, finance, science, and more.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

How Do You Calculate Probability?

Probability is calculated as favorable outcomes divided by total possible outcomes.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Can You "Take a Probability"?

The phrase is usually "take a chance," meaning to risk or try something.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What's the Origin of the Word Probability?

It comes from the Latin word "probabilitas," meaning provable.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

What's the Origin of the Word Chance?

It comes from the Latin word "cadentia," meaning falling.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Probability Always Expressed as a Percentage?

No, probability can be expressed as a ratio, fraction, or decimal as well.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Chance Always About Randomness?

Chance often involves randomness but can also refer to opportunities or risks.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Is Chance Used in Poetry and Literature?

Yes, chance is often used to convey randomness, fate, or opportunity in artistic expressions.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Probability Used in Everyday Language?

Yes, but it's often used in a more formal or scientific context.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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