plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: the probability that one thing is so or will happen rather than another : chances
the odds are against it
: the ratio of the probability of one event to that of an alternative event
: a difference favoring one of two opposed things
overwhelming odds
: a difference in terms of advantage or disadvantage
what's the odds, if thinking so makes them happyFlora Thompson
: an amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another
won the election by considerable odds
: disagreement, variance
usually used with at
faculty and administration often are at odds on everythingW. E. Brock born 1930
: the ratio between the amount to be paid off for a winning bet and the amount of the bet
: an allowance granted by one making a bet to one accepting the bet and designed to equalize the chances favoring one of the bettors
: special favor : partiality
archaic : inequalities
obsolete : degree of unlikeness
by all odds
: in every way : without question
by all odds the best book of the year

Examples of odds in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For weeks leading up to Oscars Sunday, EEAAO had been the odds-on favorite to win big according to many leading awards-season prognosticators. Vulture, 13 Mar. 2023 That would be an interesting turn of events for Sterling Suffolk, which was once the odds-on favorite to win the exclusive rights to build a full-fledged casino in the area. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Feb. 2023 Somehow, against all odds, this beautiful hidden gem in the hills of southern Spain still falls under the radar and hasn’t been taken over by tourists. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 12 Feb. 2023 Extraordinary rescue operations have succeeded against the odds in southern Turkey, but the death toll continues to climb. Nick Parker, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2023 The episode goes on to detail how the pair fall in love and, against all odds, live a happy life together. Tracy Brownstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2023 Hear how African American students’ perseverance, tenacity and resilience enabled them to navigate through inequities inherent in segregated schools and succeed against the odds. Maria Morales, Baltimore Sun, 1 Feb. 2023 But against all the odds, in Corsica, three lines have survived. Ben Jones, CNN, 1 Feb. 2023 The film tells the story of the courageous Jewish fighters who, against unimaginable odds, fought fiercely against Hitler’s war machine. Sun Sentinel, 31 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'odds.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Time Traveler
The first known use of odds was circa 1525

Dictionary Entries Near odds

Cite this Entry

“Odds.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odds. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun plural
: a difference by which one thing is favored over another
the odds are in favor of our side
: the probability that one thing is so or will happen instead of another
the odds are good it will rain today
: the ratio of the probability of one event to that of an event that can happen instead
the odds of success to failure in throwing a six with two dice are 1 to 5
: a state of disagreement
at odds with their neighbor

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