The other contestants are so talented that I don't fancy his chances at all.

What does this sentence means and also give some examples on how and when to use this phrase in a sentence: fancy someone's chances.

3 Answers 3


It means to believe that one (or someone else) is likely to be successful.

The other contestants are so talented that I don't fancy his chances at all.


The other contestants are so talented that I don't think he will be successful.




"Fancy" as a verb means to imagine or to think, in the sense of "I think that this is possible" or "I think that I will do this". For example, you might say, "I fancy I'll go to a movie tonight" or "I fancy this room would look nice if it was repainted red". It's informal, maybe slang.

A "chance" can mean a possibility that something will happen, an opportunity, usually an opportunity for success. Like, "Will Bob get the job he applied for?" "I don't know. He has a chance." Or, "Come on Sally, go out to dinner with me. Give a guy a chance." It's sometimes used in the plural, I think always or almost always with a possessive. Like, "What are Bob's chances?" "My chances look pretty poor now."

So in this case, "I don't fancy his chances" means "I think it is unlikely he will succeed".

  • I think it stems more from the "like or prefer" definition of "fancy"
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 16:12

The Merriam-Webster definition of 'fancy' includes 'to want to have or do (something)'. Using this definition, to 'fancy his chances' might mean 'to want to have his chances'.

As for 'chances', that has to do with probability, so when you flip a coin, you can say you have a 50% chance of that coin landing heads up. In this case, you haven't provided the necessary context to figure out what probability is being calculated here, but I would assume that the man in question is in some sort of competition, and 'his chances' deal with the probability of him winning the competition.

With all this in mind, the sentence might mean 'The other contestants are so talented that I don't want to have his probability of winning the competition at all.' Which makes sense, if someone has a low probability of winning something, no one would envy their position.

A similar phrase would be 'I wouldn't want to be in his shoes', meaning that the speaker would not want to be doing what that person is doing (and in this case, that person is probably losing).

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