\ 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

This practice delivers a big win when the bets pay off—particularly for seed VCs with higher ownership stakes. Leonard Sherman, WIRED, "'Blitzscaling' Is Choking Innovation—and Wasting Money," 11 July 2019 The bet paid off handsomely when lumber flooded the market, crashing the price of the commodity and lumber companies. Matt Egan, CNN, "How hedge funds use drones, satellite images and web scraping to gain an edge," 10 July 2019 Trump, the bet appears to be, will win new supporters with new sound-bites about being environmentally-friendly, because Americans are so gullible. Heather Timmons, Quartz, "The Trump White House tries to rewrite its own history on the environment," 9 July 2019 The bet has blown up on the Mets, who enter the All-Star break 10 games under .500. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "At the All-Star Futures Game, Two Reminders of a Painful Mets Trade," 7 July 2019 Now that Archie's christening is fast approaching, the bets on who his grandparents will be are coming in hot. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Jessica Mulroney? Meghan Markle's BFF Is One of the Royal Baby's Potential Godparents," 2 July 2019 In 2017, bitcoin’s manic rally had a multiplier effect: investors also piled into many smaller digital currencies hoping to catch the next hot bet. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies in the Dust," 30 June 2019 The former vice-president simply does not look like the safe bet many Democratic voters appear to want. Lexington | Washington, The Economist, "Joe Biden struggles in the Democratic primary debate," 28 June 2019 Though there are different types of peels for various skin types and ailments, a safe bet is always one using glycolic acid. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is a Glycolic Acid Peel?," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Upon losing yet another hand of baccarat, one of the men betting against us hit the felt top of the table with the side of his fist. Chia-chia Lin, The New Yorker, "A novelist’s stint impersonating the ultra-rich in China.," 16 July 2019 And property brokers are betting that not every building being talked about will actually be built. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Developers hit the ground with new D-FW office building projects," 12 July 2019 Equinor’s betting on wind power, having built the world’s first floating offshore wind farm. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "Oil companies are confused about the future of oil," 10 July 2019 In the 19th century men bet on female speed-walkers traipsing around tracks in pub gardens. The Economist, "For women, running is still an act of defiance," 28 June 2019 While the season in still weeks away, betting lines for the opening weekend of the college football season has been released by both and BetOnline. Mark Heim |,, "Updated betting lines for Week 1, include Alabama-Duke, Auburn-Oregon," 10 June 2019 There currently are 10 casinos in the state, but the opportunities to bet grew exponentially when lawmakers and then-Gov. Dan Mihalopoulos, ProPublica, "As Illinois Expands Gambling, It Will Also Try to Determine How Many Gambling Addicts It Has," 10 June 2019 There also are new taxes on sports betting, legal recreational marijuana and more. Dan Mccaleb, Daily Southtown, "McCaleb: Lawmakers 'hard work' pays off for them, not taxpayers," 7 June 2019 Industry is also betting on the therapeutic potential of IDPs. Elizabeth O'day, Scientific American, "A Special Class of Proteins Are Promising Targets for Drugs for Cancer and Alzehimer's," 1 July 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

19 Jul 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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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