\ ˈbet How to pronounce bet (audio) \

Definition of bet

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : something that is laid, staked, or pledged typically between two parties on the outcome of a contest or a contingent issue : wager often used figuratively in such phrases as all bets are off to stress the uncertainty of an outcome
b : the act of giving such a pledge
2 : something to wager on
3 : a choice made by consideration of probabilities your best bet is the back road


bet also betted; betting

Definition of bet (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to stake on the outcome of an issue or the performance of a contestant
b : to be able to be sure that usually used in the expression you bet you bet I'll be there
2a : to maintain with or as if with a bet
b : to make a bet with
c : to make a bet on

intransitive verb

: to lay a bet

Definition of bet (Entry 3 of 3)


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Synonyms for bet

Synonyms: Noun

stake, wager

Synonyms: Verb

gamble, go, lay, play, put, stake, wager

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Examples of bet in a Sentence


He has a bet on the game. He made a bet with his brother that he could finish his chores first. He and his brother have a bet about who can finish his chores first. He lost the bet and had to pay his brother five dollars. His brother won the bet. He paid his brother five dollars to settle the bet.


He bet $5 on the game. I'll bet that he makes the next shot. He always bets that the favorite will win. He lost a lot of money by betting on college football and basketball. I bet against the favorite and I lost. I wouldn't bet against her. She's very likely to win this race. Carmakers are betting that people will want to buy larger, more expensive cars this year.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before the iTunes Music Store, your best bet to find music online was through a file-sharing site like Napster. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "iTunes Is Dead. Let's Pay Our Respects," 3 June 2019 Presaging his current bet on political centrism, Mr. Biden appeared wary of catering to the party’s base. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate.," 3 June 2019 Blackstone Group LP is cashing in on its bet on the suburban rental class. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Blackstone Starts Selling Out of Home-Rental Empire," 29 May 2019 Microsoft may have been hedging its bets against an upstart competitor, but Netscape saw the overture as an intimidation tactic. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Later, Navigator: How Netscape Won and Then Lost the World Wide Web," 4 Apr. 2019 An opening week that raked in $9.5 million in gaming revenue, and nearly $27 million in revenue in September, says its bet on Springfield is working. Andrea Bennett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Will New Casinos Bring a "MassVegas" to New England?," 17 Dec. 2018 The same summer that Meredith launched Magnolia Journal, the company also launched a special-interest publication, Modern Farmhouse Style—in effect doubling down on its bet on modern farmhouse’s popularity. Laura Fenton, Curbed, "How the ‘modern farmhouse’ look took over," 21 Nov. 2018 Hyundai chose a safe bet with the wildly popular Marvel theme. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "With the 2019 Hyundai Kona Iron Man Edition, MCU Means Marvel Car Universe," 10 May 2019 Martinez, along with Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, is plus-600, meaning a $100 bet would pay $600. Eric Olson, The Seattle Times, "Huskers’ Martinez eyes encore to fantastic freshman campaign," 13 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Pritzker also defended the size of a massive gambling expansion bill that includes a mega-casino in Chicago, slots at O’Hare and Midway airports as well as horse race tracks and legalized sports betting. Juan Perez Jr.,, "Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will sign budget with legislative pay increases, defends lawmakers’ hard work," 5 June 2019 But succeeding Waukegan officials kept rolling the dice, keeping the dream alive, betting the big one would finally come their way. Charles Selle, Lake County News-Sun, "Selle: Waukegan's bid to land a casino goes back to 1990 on the Waukegan River," 5 June 2019 Automakers rallied as traders bet that the U.S. and Mexico will work out their trade issues. Washington Post, "Dow jumps over 500 points amid hopes of Fed rate cut," 4 June 2019 The licensing will cost sports betting hosts between $3.2 million and $10 million. Keith Schubert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On your next trip to Wrigley or Soldier Field, you may be able to take your fandom to a new level by betting against the Cubs or Bears," 4 June 2019 However, Holzhauer knew the strategy Boettcher would employ in Final Jeopardy, which led him to bet a surprisingly low amount of money, given his history for massive bets. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Jeopardy! Tracker: James Holzhauer's final stats, cash totals after 32-game win streak," 4 June 2019 He's known for starting out at the bottom of the board -- thereby scoring the high dollar amounts -- seeking out the Daily Double and betting it all. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Does Jeopardy! champ James Holzhauer lose today?," 3 June 2019 Right now, bookies have the best odds on young British actress Florence Pugh, 23, as favorite for the role, while Bohemian Rhaposody star Lucy Boynton and Les Miserables' Ellie Bamber are also both close behind in the betting race. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Who Will Play Princess Diana in 'The Crown'? Everything We Know So Far," 12 Mar. 2019 The state gets 51 percent of sports betting profits, after subtracting expenses. Jennifer Mcdermott, The Seattle Times, "Sports betting revenue projection was $11.5M. So far? $150K," 29 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bet


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1600, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for bet


origin unknown

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Learn More about bet

Statistics for bet

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bet

The first known use of bet was in 1591

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More Definitions for bet



English Language Learners Definition of bet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an agreement in which people try to guess what will happen and the person who guesses wrong has to give something (such as money) to the person who guesses right
: the money or other valuable thing that you could win or lose in a bet
: a choice made by thinking about what will probably happen



English Language Learners Definition of bet (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a bet : to risk losing something (such as money) if your guess about what will happen is wrong
: to risk losing (something) when you try to do or achieve something
: to make decisions that are based on the belief that something will happen or is true


\ ˈbet How to pronounce bet (audio) \

Kids Definition of bet

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an agreement requiring the person who guesses wrong about the result of a contest or the outcome of an event to give something to the person who guesses right
2 : the money or thing risked in a bet
3 : a choice made by considering what might happen It's a safe bet that they will win.


bet or betted; betting

Kids Definition of bet (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to risk in a bet bet a dollar
2 : to make a bet with I bet you he'll win.
3 : to be sure enough to make a bet I bet she knows the answer.

Kids Definition of bet.


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More from Merriam-Webster on bet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bet

Spanish Central: Translation of bet

Nglish: Translation of bet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bet for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bet

Comments on bet

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