\ ˈbet \

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

Your best bet would be either compression gear or anything relatively formfitting. Isadora Baum, SELF, "10 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Indoor Rowing Class," 27 Jan. 2019 Printed dresses with midi lengths and lady bags that fit just enough are your best bets. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Ultimate Honeymoon Packing List," 25 Jan. 2019 Your best bet is to double down by incorporating two or more deeply moisturizing elixirs. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Pro’s Guide to Managing Sensitive Skin This Winter," 27 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, your best bet on starting any new job is to be observant. Karen Burns, The Seattle Times, "Don’t let unwritten workplace rules trip you up," 7 Nov. 2018 There's also an extensive menu, but your best bet is to head straight for pastry case and go for a slice of cake. Katie Lockhart, Condé Nast Traveler, "11 Best Places For Coffee in Bangkok," 18 Oct. 2018 For the most comprehensive, souped-up 115th anniversary experience, the Chrome Pack is your best bet, offering early, behind-the-scenes and free access to desirable events and places. Harley Davidson Motor Company, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How to access more at Harley’s 115th party," 12 July 2018 My bet would be that Odom and Mizzou have a nice fall. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Whit not an All-Star (?), Jeff Long and KU, Chiefs fears, Odom's crossroads," 10 July 2018 Your best bet for indulging a dessert-cart fantasy at a Chicago steakhouse is at swanky Swift & Sons, in Fulton Market. Louisa Chu,, "Conjuring the dessert cart, one fantastical bite at a time," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And O’Rourke, who has been running a campaign more about mobilizing Democratic voters than persuading moderate Republicans to support him, has bet that the more people who vote in Texas, the more Democratic the state will become. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Texas Senate election results: Beto O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz," 7 Nov. 2018 Citron Research, which had bet against Tesla stock for years, wrote in a note posted on its website that Tesla is destroying the competition. Tom Krisher, The Seattle Times, "Wall Street skeptical of Tesla’s promise to post net profit," 23 Oct. 2018 Among the companies that has bet on this idea is Facebook itself. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Coinbase thrived when cryptocurrencies crashed. Can it take the blockchain back to the mainstream?," 27 Sep. 2018 What's bad for the owner of vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines could actually be good for tech, which has bet big on electrification. Eric Newcomer,, "Why Silicon Valley doesn't mind rising gas prices," 6 July 2018 Nissan has bet big on Star Wars marketing after Disney named the first Star Wars spin-off Rogue One in 2016. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "5 hottest selling U.S. vehicles in May: Ford, Jeep, Nissan make the list," 1 June 2018 Makers of everything from bulldozers to computer chips have bet heavily on growing business in a country of 1.4 billion people with an increasing appetite for world-class consumer goods and infrastructure. Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Manufacturers Take a Sales Hit in China," 27 Jan. 2019 Popular guesses with British betting agency Betfair? Vogue, "Everything We Know About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Baby," 17 Jan. 2019 Many scammers, at least, seem to be betting that the answer is yes. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook imposters are trying to swindle users out of bitcoin," 18 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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Statistics for bet

Last Updated

15 Feb 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 \

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

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