English Language Blog

What are the odds? Posted by on Aug 2, 2022 in English Grammar, English Language, English Vocabulary

Hi, everyone! August is rolling in, how has your year been so far? I hope the odds are in your favor! Today’s post will look into this fascinating word in the English and its many possibilities: odds. The ideia came to me when I was walking down the street the other day and I came across a 10 euro bill! I’m sure we all like finding some unexpected money, but I mean, what are the odds, right?

Do you think my odds are good? (Photo by Drew Rae from Pexels)

After that fortuitous experience, I could focus on what truly matters: the incredible English language. So I started thinking of the different ways we can use the word odds and I’ve rounded them up for us today, along with some meaningful phrases and collocations. Let’s go for it!

So let’s start with the basic definition:

Very useful in a casino, but frequently used figuratively, ODDS describe the probabitly of a certain outcome, the chance or likelihood for something to happen:

  • After the corruption scandals, the odds on her being reelected are slim.
  • If you keep driving while intoxicated, the odds are that you be involved in an accident soon.
  • It’s been cloudy all day. Odds are that it will rain later.
  • The odds of winning the lottery is like 1 in a million. It’s just not worth it.

    After faliling multiple times, Phil managed to beat the odds and become a thriving business owner) Photo by Vlad Chețan from Pexels)

Note: do not mistake it for ODD, which is used to refer to something unusual or strange (i.e. Isn’t it odd that your mother never pays us a visit?).


Phrases, collocations and idioms:


Contrary to probability or expectation

  • Against all odds, he worked his way through college and got himself a law degree.
  • The underdogs were able to win the championship against all odds.
  • As a woman from a poor family, she managed to beat the odds and build a succesful career in politics.
  • Although most restaurants go bankrupt within a year, Papa’s Bistro beat the odds and has been popular for a decade.


When something is unlikely to happen:

  • Our best player has got a broken leg and our coach is sick. The odds are definitely against us on the match.
  • After losing our most important account and failing to get that promotion, I feel like the odds are stacked up against Jim.

They’ve been frequently at odds with each other lately (Photo by Timur Weber)


to be in disagreement or conflict with someone

  • Tensions are rising because the two countries have been at odds for the past few years.
  • The couple was always at odds over financial issues.

Are you familiar with any other ways to use the word odds? Leave your comment below and let us know.


Stick around for more next time! Odds are that we’ll learn a lot of new things.

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