CHANCE (through the O. Fr. chéance, from the Late Lat. cadentia, things happening, from cadere, to fall out, happen; cf. "case"), an accident or event, a phenomenon which has no apparent or discoverable cause; hence an event which has not been expected, a piece of good or bad fortune. From the popular idea that anything of which no assignable cause is known has therefore no cause, chance was regarded as having a substantial objective existence, being itself the source of such uncaused phenomena. For the philosophic theories relating to this subject see Accidentalism.
"Chance," in the theory of probability, is used in two ways. In the stricter, or mathematical usage, it is synonymous with probability; i.e. if a particular event may occur in n ways in an aggregate of p events, then the "chance" of the particular event occurring is given by the fraction n/p. In the second usage, the "chance" is regarded as the ratio of the number of ways which a particular event may occur to the number of ways in which it may not occur; mathematically expressed, this chance is n/(p-n) (see Probability). In the English law relating to gaming and wagering a distinction is drawn between games of chance and games of skill (see Gaming and Wagering).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)