on the chance

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on the (off) chance

In the unlikely event. On the off chance that you get home before me, can you put the roast in the oven?
See also: chance, on

on the chance

In the (usually unlikely) possibility (that something may happen or be the case). You'll probably need to replace your washing machine, but on the chance that I can fix it, let me open it up and take a look. I don't think Jack would go on a date with me, but on the chance that he says yes, I'm going to ask him anyway!
See also: chance, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

on the chance that

On the possibility that, as in I came early on the chance that we might have time to chat. This phrase uses chance in the sense of "a possibility or probability for some event," a usage dating from the late 1700s. It is sometimes put as on the off chance, meaning "on the slight but unlikely possibility," as in I came late on the off chance that I could avoid Thomas. The addition of off in the sense of "remote" dates from the mid-1800s.
See also: chance, on, that
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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