“By chance”: idiom meaning.

By chance
If something happens “by chance” you don’t plan it and you don’t expect it but it’s possible. If you ask someone:”By chance, have you got my t-shirt?” you don’t think/expect this person really has your t-shirt but you think it’s possible (possible but not very probable), so you ask to be sure.

Other examples of “by chance” idiom in a sentence

  • Is she, by chance, his girlfriend?
  • Do you have a pen, by chance?
  • By chance, did you talk to her yesterday?

“By chance”: use in context explanation

The man is searching for his credit card, he can’t find it anywhere. He asks his wife is, by chance, she’s taken it. She didn’t tell him she was taking it and he didn’t see her taking it but he knows his wife likes shopping and spending money so it’s possible she might have it. He also uses the expression “by chance” in a sarcastic way, because if she’s taken it without his permission, he will be angry. The woman says she doesn’t have it, but it’s not true and we can tell she’s probably been shopping because there are some shopping bags next to her.