\ 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

Anything mom can pamper herself with is a safe bet, too, like a gift certificate to a salon or spa, suggests Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and CEO of the Protocol School of Palm Beach. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "Experts Reveal How Much You Should Actually Spend on Mother's Day Gifts," 4 May 2019 In the short run, the safe bet is on Pelosi remaining her party’s leader in the next Congress, and perhaps even becoming speaker again. Matthew Green, Vox, "What Pelosi’s defenders miss," 29 Oct. 2018 Losers: Rockets Forecasting some degree of regression from the Rockets is a safe bet. Ben Golliver,, "2018 NBA Free Agency: The Early Winners And Losers," 5 July 2018 These Baltimore-area bars, known for attracting feverish futbol fans, are safe bets. Glenn Graham,, "Early hits and misses at the 2018 World Cup," 20 June 2018 While fresh blueberries are tastiest in the height of summer and lose their depth of flavor in the off-season, frozen blueberries are a safe bet year-round. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Little blue dynamos,' blueberries pack in flavor and nutrients," 11 June 2018 Owning a bar on Broadway is a relatively safe bet for Nashville artists at the moment. Isaac Weeks, Billboard, "Ray Stevens Is Latest Country Star to Launch Own Venue With His CabaRay Showroom," 9 June 2018 So with Meghan's due date fast approaching, fans have already been placing bets on what the new royal baby's name will be. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Name Their First Baby?," 8 Apr. 2019 There are people who have placed bets on the baby's name, the baby's gender, even the baby's blood type. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "A Royals Expert Answers All Your Questions About Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Baby," 2 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And for betting types—April was supposed to be the clear winner. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "I Went All the Way to the U.K. to Celebrate the Royal Baby, and It Was Not What I Expected," 7 May 2019 In the 1970s, favorites won six of 10 Derbys, but that was followed by a 20-year drought without the top betting choice taking the Run for the Roses. Jim Chairusmi, WSJ, "Who Will Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby?," 4 May 2019 Here are the best ways to live out your horse-betting fantasies and get a good dose of some of the most charming parts of this Southern city. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, "5 Things You Must Do In Kentucky," 3 May 2019 Could Meghan and Harry's baby be named after the iconic monarch? Albert If the royal baby is a boy, betting odds suggest that he could be named after Queen Victoria's beloved husband, Prince Albert. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Name Their First Baby?," 8 Apr. 2019 Interesting, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, former frenemy of Hannah and herself one of the finalists for The Bachelorette, is also betting on Luke to win it all. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Wins the Bachelorette and Hannah Brown's Heart? Here's Everything We Know," 8 Apr. 2019 Believe it or not, betting markets now rate Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., in the top-tier of Democratic presidential candidates. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Buttigieg Appeal," 4 Apr. 2019 Panning out, Goop’s bet on the future spiritual and mental health seemed to be laser-focused on the interplay between the physical and the metaphysical. Elizabeth Nicholas, Vogue, "The Top Takeaways from 2019’s In Goop Health Summit," 12 Mar. 2019 The Big Short, which was based on a book by journalist Michael Lewis about four men who saw the housing crisis looming and bet against the market. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Vice doesn’t want to humanize Dick Cheney. So instead, it (maybe) demonizes America.," 21 Dec. 2018

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

10 May 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

What made you want to look up bet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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