\ ˈädz How to pronounce odds (audio) \

Definition of odds

1a(1) : the probability that one thing is so or will happen rather than another : chances the odds are against it
(2) : the ratio of the probability of one event to that of an alternative event
b(1) : a difference favoring one of two opposed things overwhelming odds
(2) : a difference in terms of advantage or disadvantage what's the odds, if thinking so makes them happy— Flora Thompson
c : an amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another won the election by considerable odds
2 : disagreement, variance usually used with at faculty and administration often are at odds on everything— W. E. Brock born 1930
3a : the ratio between the amount to be paid off for a winning bet and the amount of the bet
b : an allowance granted by one making a bet to one accepting the bet and designed to equalize the chances favoring one of the bettors
c : special favor : partiality
4a archaic : inequalities
b 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 Unless organizers plan to begin while the sun remains in place, the vigils will put those gathered at odds with the curfew order. Josiah Bates, Time, "Amid Derek Chauvin Trial, Minnesota Grapples With Another Police Killing of an Unarmed Black Man," 12 Apr. 2021 So the goals of enhancing user privacy and enforcing competition appear to be at odds with each other. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Antitrust and Privacy Are on a Collision Course," 12 Apr. 2021 Moments that might have become frantic have an economy and a calm supported by a plain, sturdy syntax usefully at odds with the ambivalence of the novel’s characters. Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker, "In Thomas Grattan’s Début Novel, Historical Fiction Gets Personal," 12 Apr. 2021 In conflating the concept of establishing a hierarchy with the need to set priorities in human-rights policy, Blinken put himself at odds with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Nina Shea, National Review, "Secretary Blinken, Don’t Downplay the Importance of Religious Freedom," 11 Apr. 2021 Cegavske is among a handful of Republicans who have been censured by their own parties in recent months after finding themselves at odds with Trump and his supporters. Michelle L. Price, Star Tribune, "Nevada GOP censures elections official who defended results," 11 Apr. 2021 Economists believe the enduring bargain, at odds with an era of sticker-shock prices at many athletic events, is not merely a matter of Southern hospitality. New York Times, "The Sandwich Economics of the Masters and Augusta National," 9 Apr. 2021 Baker's findings were at odds with those of other prosecution expert witnesses who were explicit in their assessments that Floyd died from asphyxia. NBC News, "Medical examiner who ruled George Floyd's death a homicide blames police pressure for his death," 9 Apr. 2021 Cultural burning is at odds with the modern Western view that fire should be aggressively suppressed. Emily Farra, Vogue, "“You Can’t Fight Fire, You Have to Work With It”—In Australia, These Women Are Harnessing Indigenous Knowledge to Protect Their Land," 9 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'odds.' 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 odds

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

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Statistics for odds

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Odds.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odds. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for odds



English Language Learners Definition of odds

: the possibility that something will happen : the chance that one thing will happen instead of a different thing
: conditions that make it difficult for something to happen
: two numbers that show how much a person can win by betting a certain amount of money


noun plural
\ ˈädz How to pronounce odds (audio) \

Kids Definition of odds

1 : a difference in favor of one thing over another She wanted to improve her odds of winning.
2 : conditions that make something difficult He overcame great odds and succeeded.
3 : disagreement sense 1 Those two are always at odds with one another.

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Comments on odds

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