main chance

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main chance (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) A venture which stands the best likelihood of success; a risk; fortune (of a person, country etc.). [16th-18th c.]
  2. One's primary interest in life; livelihood, especially an opportunity to benefit oneself. [from 16th c.]
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.26:
      Carneades, a worthy successor of Arcelisaus as head of the Academy, was one of three philosophers sent by Athens on a diplomatic mission to Rome in the year 156 BC. He saw no reason why his ambassadorial dignity should interfere with the main chance, so he announced a course of lectures in Rome.
    • 2009, Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, Vintage 2010, p. 105:
      They had to find a way of instructing the flood of new converts presenting themselves for baptism, some, doubtless, with an eye on the main chance.