\ 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 atfaculty 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

First Known Use of odds

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

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Time Traveler

The first known use of odds was circa 1525

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Cite this Entry

“Odds.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odds. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce odds (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on odds

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for odds

Spanish Central: Translation of odds

Nglish: Translation of odds for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of odds for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about odds

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