# Probability vs. Chance — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 11, 2023
Probability is the mathematical measure of an event's likelihood, usually between 0 and 1. Chance refers to the possibility of an event occurring, often used in everyday language without precise numerical values.

## Key Differences

Probability is a term deeply rooted in mathematics and statistics. It quantifies the likelihood of an event happening and is often expressed as a fraction, decimal, or percentage between 0 and 1. The closer the probability is to 1, the more likely the event is to occur. On the other hand, chance is a more colloquial term, conveying the idea that something might happen, but without necessarily offering a precise measure. Both probability and chance address the uncertainty of outcomes, but probability offers a more defined, quantitative assessment.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023
When someone speaks of the "probability" of an event, they're often referring to a precise or calculable measure. For instance, in a deck of cards, the probability of drawing an ace is 4 out of 52. Chance, however, is a more general term. If someone says there's a "chance" of rain tomorrow, they might not be referencing a specific percentage but rather indicating that rain is a possibility. Both probability and chance touch upon future uncertainties, but probability is often more rigorous and exact.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023
In some contexts, probability and chance might be used interchangeably, especially in everyday language. When someone says, "There's a good chance I'll come to the party," they might mean there's a high probability. However, in disciplines like statistics, finance, or science, probability has a strict definition and is calculated based on given data. Both probability and chance reflect potential outcomes, but their usage can vary based on the context and desired precision.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023
In essence, while both terms address the realm of uncertainty, probability leans more towards quantitative analysis and precision. Chance, meanwhile, is broader and might be more qualitative, pointing to the possibility of an event without necessarily quantifying it. Both probability and chance are integral to understanding and expressing the unpredictability inherent in various situations.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Mathematical measure of an event's likelihood.
General possibility of an event occurring.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

### Quantification

Typically expressed as a fraction, decimal, or percentage.
Might not be quantified.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

### Field of Use

Common in mathematics, statistics, and science.
More colloquially used in everyday language.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

### Precision

Provides a specific measure of likelihood.
Might be vague or general.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

### Associated Perspective

Analytical and data-driven.
Qualitative and based on observation or belief.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

## Compare with Definitions

#### Probability

Probability can be expressed as a fraction, decimal, or percentage.
The probability of drawing a red card from a standard deck is 0.5 or 50%.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

Chance can be used to express uncertain outcomes without specific measures.
There's a good chance it'll snow tonight.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Probability

Probability is fundamental in statistics and predictive analysis.
Based on customer behavior, the probability of a sale is 65%.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

Chance can be synonymous with risk or opportunity in some contexts.
Taking a new job in a different city is a big chance to take.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Probability

Probability is the measure of the likelihood of an event occurring.
The probability of flipping a coin and getting heads is 0.5.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

Probability is the branch of mathematics concerning numerical descriptions of how likely an event is to occur, or how likely it is that a proposition is true. The probability of an event is a number between 0 and 1, where, roughly speaking, 0 indicates impossibility of the event and 1 indicates certainty.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck
Chance will determine the outcome.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The quality or state of being probable; the extent to which something is likely to happen or be the case
The rain will make the probability of a postponement even greater
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Often chances The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability
Chances are good that you will win. Is there any chance of rain?.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The quality or condition of being probable; likelihood.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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).
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

A probable situation, condition, or event
Her election is a clear probability.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

A favorable set of circumstances; an opportunity
A chance to escape.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The likelihood that a given event will occur
Little probability of rain tonight.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

A risk or hazard; a gamble
Took a chance that the ice would hold me.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(Games) A raffle or lottery ticket.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The state of being probable; likelihood.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(Baseball) An opportunity to make a putout or an assist that counts as an error if unsuccessful.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

An event that is likely to occur.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Caused by or ascribable to chance; unexpected, random, or casual
A chance encounter.
A chance result.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The relative likelihood of an event happening.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To take the risk or hazard of
We thought we could jump over the puddle, but we were not willing to chance it.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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).
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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).
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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).
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(countable) An opportunity or possibility.
We had the chance to meet the president last week.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(uncountable) Random occurrence; luck.
Why leave it to chance when a few simple steps will secure the desired outcome?
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

The quality of being probable
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(countable) The probability of something happening.
There is a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

Probability quantifies uncertain outcomes in mathematical terms.
Based on the weather data, the probability of rain tomorrow is 80%.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

(in plural as chances) probability; possibility.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Probability

Probability evaluates the certainty or uncertainty of events.
Given the symptoms, the probability of the diagnosis being accurate is 90%.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

What befalls or happens to a person; their lot or fate.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Happening by chance, casual.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

(obsolete) Perchance; perhaps.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To happen by chance, to occur.
It chanced that I found a solution the very next day.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To befall; to happen to.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To try or risk.
Shall we carry the umbrella, or chance a rainstorm?
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To discover something by chance.
He chanced upon a kindly stranger who showed him the way.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

The operation or activity of such agent.
By chance a priest came down that way.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

Probability.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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?
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To take the chances of; to venture upon; - usually with it as object.
Come what will, I will chance it.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

To befall; to happen to.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Happening by chance; casual.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

By chance; perchance.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

A possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances;
The holiday gave us the opportunity to visit Washington
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

A risk involving danger;
You take a chance when you let her drive
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Be the case by chance;
I chanced to meet my old friend in the street
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome;
When you buy these stocks you are gambling
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### 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
Fiza Rafique
Sep 23, 2021

#### Chance

Chance refers to the possibility of something happening.
There's a chance I might visit Europe next summer.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

Chance often implies unpredictability or randomness.
Winning the lottery is purely by chance.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Chance

Chance speaks to the unpredictability inherent in various situations.
By chance, they met at the same cafe after years apart.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

## Common Curiosities

#### What does chance mean?

Chance refers to the possibility or likelihood of a particular event happening, often used in a more qualitative or informal context.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### What is probability?

Probability quantifies the likelihood of an event occurring, typically expressed as a fraction, decimal, or percentage between 0 and 1 (or 0% and 100%).
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Is there a difference between probability and chance?

While both relate to the likelihood of events, probability is a more quantitative measure, whereas chance is often used more qualitatively.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### How is probability calculated?

Probability is calculated as the ratio of the number of favorable outcomes to the total number of possible outcomes.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Is "by chance" the same as "randomly"?

Generally, yes. Saying something happened "by chance" often means it happened without intention or predictability, much like "randomly."
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Can probability ever be 100%?

Theoretically, a probability of 100% means an event is certain to occur, but in practical applications, absolute certainties are rare.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### How do probability and chance relate to risk?

Both concepts can be used to assess risk. If there's a high probability or chance of an event occurring, it might be considered a high risk.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Are probability and chance used in gambling?

Yes, both terms are frequently used in gambling contexts to describe the odds or likelihood of particular outcomes.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### Is taking a chance the same as taking a risk?

Often, yes. When one "takes a chance," they are usually accepting some level of risk or uncertainty.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

#### How does probability relate to statistics?

Probability provides the theoretical foundation for statistics, guiding predictions and inferences about populations based on sample data.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 11, 2023

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