chance'd be a fine thing

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An ellipsis of even having a chance [to do so / at that] would be a fine thing and similar ideas, in reference to something that is either completely impossible or currently forbidden by circumstances, higher authorities, etc., originally chiefly with regard to opportunities to have sex or get married.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Phrase[edit]

chance'd be a fine thing

  1. (Britain, idiomatic) Synonym of no chance or fat chance with a somewhat more cheerful attitude.
    • 1912, Stanley Houghton, Hindle Wakes, Act I, Scene i:
      Mrs Hawthon: Why didn't you get wed if you were so curious? There's plenty would have had you.
      Fanny: Chance is a fine thing. Happen I wouldn't have had them!
      Mrs Hawthorn: Happen you'll be sorry for it before long. There's not so many will have you now, if this gets about.
    • 2009 September 18, Jesse Armstrong & al., Peep Show, Season 6, Episode 1:
      Come on. You're management, Corrigan. Get it sorted.
      Right. Chance would be a fine thing. [VO] That's a thing people say, isn't it...
      Mark, can't you reset it?
      Chance would be a fine thing, Lisa.
      I know what you should do. Coffee run. Corrigan, 200 lattes.
      Good, good one Jeff. Chance would be a fine thing, a fine thing indeed. [VO] Hmm. Saying that too often now.
    • 2012 September 23, Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 2:
      Dr Clarkson: Sit down and put your feet up if you can.
      Mrs Patmore: Oh, chance'd be a fine thing.
    Me winning the lotto? Chance'd be a fine thing.

References[edit]