Have you ever heard the phrase ‘fat chance!’?

If someone says ‘fat chance!’, it means they think something you said will not happen or is very unlikely to happen. It is usually used in casual conversation.

This phrase is interesting because the word ‘fat’ usually means big or large but in ‘fat chance!’ it means very small. This is an example of sarcasm in English (see ‘Extra tip’ below).

Here are some examples using ‘fat chance’:

A: “Maybe the teacher will let us out of class early today.”  B: “Ha! Fat chance.”

A: “Do you think she’ll lend me the money?” B: “Fat chance. She doesn’t even have a job.”

“Fat chance of winning the lottery if you don’t even buy a ticket.”

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If you want to say ‘fat chance’ more politely, you can ‘slim chance.’ Even though ‘fat’ and ‘slim’ usually have opposite meanings, here the meanings are the same.

Extra tip!:  Sarcasm can be difficult for English learners because it uses the opposite meanings of words for humorous effect. Sarcasm is often used to show the speaker is unhappy about something or wants to tease someone. You can often tell if someone is using sarcasm from the situation. Sometimes the speaker will also use a different voice tone or facial expression. Examples of sarcasm: [It’s raining heavily]=“Wow, it’s a beautiful day today!”, [A place is very crowded]=“Oh, it’s so quiet in here!”

Related links

What does ‘Hold your horses!” mean?

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