Give It a Chance: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 8, 2023

"Give it a chance" is a common idiom in English that means trying something new or different, even if you are unsure. It can also mean to be patient and wait for something to improve or change. The main idea of this idiom is to be open-minded and optimistic about something.

In short:

  • It means to try something new or different, or to be patient and wait for something to improve or change.
  • It is a way of expressing optimism and open-mindedness.

What Does "Give It a Chance" Mean?

The idiom "give it a chance" has two primary meanings, depending on the context and the situation.

  • The first meaning is to try something new or different, even if you are unsure about it or have doubts. This can apply to various things, such as activities, hobbies, foods, places, people, etc. For example, if someone invites you to go hiking with them, but you have never done it before and think it might be tedious or complex, they might say, "Give it a chance; you might like it." This means they want you to try hiking and see if you enjoy it.
  • The second meaning is to be patient and wait for something to improve or change instead of giving up on it or rejecting it. This can apply to various things, such as relationships, jobs, projects, situations, etc. For example, if someone is dating someone new but is unsure if they are compatible or have a future together, they might say, "Give it a chance; maybe things will get better." They want to continue the relationship and see if it works out.

Where Does "Give It a Chance" Come From?

The origin and history of the idiom "give it a chance" are unclear, but one possible source is the phrase "give him a chance" used in politics and elections in the 19th and 20th centuries. This phrase was used to urge voters to support a candidate who was new or inexperienced or who had faced criticism or opposition.

10 Examples of "Give It a Chance" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use this idiom in different sentences:

  • Before you dismiss the new restaurant, why not give it a chance?
  • The movie seems bland, but give it a chance - it might surprise you.
  • Don't judge the book by its cover; give it a chance to captivate you.
  • Initially, I wasn't sure about the hobby, but I decided to give it a chance.
  • I'm hesitant about the new software, but I'll give it a chance to prove its worth.
  • Real talk: Don't dismiss the idea without giving it a chance to prove itself.
  • What can I say? You never know unless you give it a chance to work out.
  • Before rejecting the proposal, give it a chance to be discussed.
  • If you're unsure about the class, give it a chance for a week before dropping it.
  • I'm uncertain about this dating app, but I'll give it a chance and see how it goes.

Examples of "Give It a Chance" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of how this idiom has been used in various forms of pop culture:

  • In the movie "Shrek," the ogre Shrek tells his companion Donkey to "give it a chance" when they arrive at the swamp where Shrek lives. Shrek is trying to convince Donkey that the swamp is not as bad as it seems and that they can be friends.
  • In the TV show "Friends," the character Rachel says to her ex-boyfriend Ross: "Look, I know you think we can't do this, but we can. Because we're us. We're Ross and Rachel. Come on, just give it a chance, okay?". Rachel is asking Ross to give their relationship another try after they broke up due to Ross's infidelity.
  • In the book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," the protagonist Harry Potter tells his friend Ron Weasley to "give it a chance" when they play their first game of wizard chess. Harry encourages Ron to trust his skills and strategy in the game, even though he is nervous and doubtful.

Other Ways to Say "Give It a Chance"

Here are some synonyms that have similar meanings for this idiom:

  • Give it a try
  • Give it a go
  • Give it a shot
  • Give it a whirl
  • Give it a fair shot
  • Give it some time
  • Give it some slack
  • Give it some space
  • Give it some thought
  • Give it an opportunity

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Give It a Chance"

Here are some common questions that people might have about this idiom:

  • What does "give it a chance" mean?

"Give it a chance" is a common idiom in English that means trying something new or different, even if you are unsure. It can also mean to be patient and wait for something to improve or change. The main idea of this idiom is to be open-minded and optimistic about something.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "give it a chance"?

The origin and history of the idiom "give it a chance" are unclear, but one possible source is the phrase "give him a chance" used in politics and elections in the 19th and 20th centuries. This phrase was used to urge voters to support a candidate who was new or inexperienced or who had faced criticism or opposition.

  • Is "give it a chance" formal or informal?

The idiom "give it a chance" is neither formal nor informal. It is a neutral expression that can be used in formal and informal situations.

  • What is the opposite of "give it a chance"?

The opposite of "give it a chance" is to reject, dismiss, or ignore something without trying it or waiting for it.

  • How is "give it a chance" different from "give it a try"?

"Give it a chance" and "give it a try" are similar in that they both suggest giving something an opportunity, but "give it a chance" typically implies a longer or more patient approach, while "give it a try" suggests a more immediate or experimental effort.

  • When should I use the idiom "give it a chance"?

You should use this idiom when you want to encourage someone to be open-minded and not dismiss something or someone too quickly, whether it's a new idea, project, person, or situation.

  • Is "give it a chance" always used in a positive context?

Not necessarily. While it often implies a positive outlook, "give it a chance" can also be used in situations where there is uncertainty or doubt, urging someone to withhold judgment temporarily.

  • Is "give it a chance" commonly used in everyday conversation?

Yes, this idiom is quite common in both casual and formal conversations, as it encourages open-mindedness and a fair evaluation of various situations.

  • Can "give it a chance" be applied to relationships?

Yes, the idiom is often used in the context of relationships, advising people to be patient and give their partners time to reveal their true qualities.

  • Is "give it a chance" applicable in business or career decisions?

Yes, it can be relevant in business and career contexts when considering new ventures, strategies, or opportunities. It encourages individuals or teams to be open to new possibilities and not rush into judgment.

Final Thoughts About "Give It a Chance"

The idiom "give it a chance" is a common and valuable expression in English that can convey different meanings depending on the context and the situation. The main idea of this idiom is to be open-minded and optimistic about something.

Here are some key points to remember about this idiom:

  • It means to try something new or different or to be patient and wait for something to improve or change.
  • It has some related expressions that have similar meanings.
  • It has some synonyms that have similar meanings.
  • It has some antonyms that have opposite meanings.
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