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heads or tails

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noun
  1. a gambling game in which a coin is tossed, the winner being the player who guesses which side of the coin will face up when it lands or is caught.
  2. the tossing of a coin in this manner to determine a question or choice.
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Origin of heads or tails

First recorded in 1675–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

hitriskadvantageoddsbreakfuturelotoutcomefortuityoccurrencecoincidencecasualtymisfortunelotterydestinykismetdestinationprovidencehapgamble

Idioms and Phrases with heads or tails

heads or tails

An expression used when tossing a coin to decide between two alternatives, as in Let's just flip a coin to decide who pays—do you want heads or tails? Each person involved chooses a different side of the coin, either “heads” or “tails,” and whichever side lands facing up is considered the winner. This usage, dating from the late 1600s, is sometimes turned into Heads I win, tails you lose, meaning “I win no matter what,” which probably originated in an attempt to deceive someone. [Mid-1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.