\ 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 betyou 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

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of bet in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 The private-equity firm, known for making bets on distressed companies, acquired a sizable position in insurance contracts, called credit default swaps, on Hertz’s corporate debt. Alexander Gladstone, WSJ, "Apollo Global Management Bets on Hertz Failure," 18 May 2020 Instead, Rossi must wait until studios can make bets again on new content. NBC News, "Running out of shows to binge? Hollywood is scrambling to meet content demand," 17 May 2020 Judging from the numbers, and interpreting them with the scientific information that’s understood so far, Africa has made the better bet. Jina Moore, The New Yorker, "What African Nations Are Teaching the West About Fighting the Coronavirus," 15 May 2020 Warren Buffett last week apologized to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders for having made a $10 billion bet on oil last spring. Bill Mckibben, The New York Review of Books, "Thanks to Climate Divestment, Big Oil Finally Runs Out of Gas," 12 May 2020 An international public-private partnership is making the biggest bet. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "'Our moon shot': Vaccine makers go ahead with unproven candidates to meet 2021 goal – that experts say may be unrealistic," 23 Apr. 2020 Tiny Rochester Hills car company makes a big bet on hand sanitizer For a tiny auto supplier in Rochester Hills, a late-night idea has turned into a lucrative new product line. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Coronavirus live updates, April 22: Uncertainty remains on impact on health care premiums," 22 Apr. 2020 Of course, that’s a bet with some risk involved — what if sales don’t bounce back in eight months? Janelle Bitker,, "Coronavirus hits Bay Area’s artisan cheese industry hard," 14 Apr. 2020 Imagine how much handle (total money wagered) the state lost by not being able to take bets on the College Football Playoff. oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon Lottery Scoreboard is hamstrung with college sports wagering ban," 25 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bet on the Spurs, don’t bet on the New York Knicks, right? Tom Orsborn,, "San Antonio Food Bank chief criticizes USDA for awarding food contracts to inexperienced companies," 15 May 2020 In recent days, investors have bet that the Federal Reserve could push interest rates into negative territory for the first time ever next year. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Patchwork reopening leaves global businesses in the lurch," 11 May 2020 Don’t bet on Gov. Gavin Newsom ever announcing that California is reopening for business. Willie Brown,, "When will Gavin Newsom proclaim California back to work? He won’t," 25 Apr. 2020 Word to the wise: Never doubt Dr. James Andrews, and don’t bet against Saban. Joseph Goodman |, al, "NFL Draft prayers answered: Tua Tagovailoa is rich," 24 Apr. 2020 Do not bet against the pharma execs walking out of the room clutching their golden ticket. Stewart Lyman, STAT, "If pharma helps quench the Covid-19 pandemic, what will it want in return?," 21 Apr. 2020 Fourteen states currently offer sports betting, and many others are considering it., "Rates fall to historic laws on coronavirus fears," 6 Mar. 2020 With this daily nonstop flight that will operate through September, United is betting that those in America will want to vacation there en masse. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Complicated Decisions Behind New Airline Routes," 2 Mar. 2020 Pelosi bet the 49ers would beat Cleaver's team in Super Bowl LIV. Michelle Stoddart, ABC News, "Pelosi pays off Super Bowl bet with pistachios and San Francisco chocolates," 11 Feb. 2020

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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for bet


How to pronounce bet (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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