noun (usually used with a plural verb)

the probability that something is so, will occur, or is more likely to occur than something else: The odds are that it will rain today.
the ratio of probability that something is so, will occur, or is more likely to occur than something else.
this ratio used as the basis of a bet; the ratio by which the bet of one party to a wager exceeds that of the other, granted by one of two betting opponents to equalize the chances favoring one of them: The odds are two-to-one that it won't rain today.
an equalizing allowance, as that given the weaker person or team in a contest; handicap.
an advantage or degree of superiority on the side of two contending parties; a difference favoring one of two contestants.
an amount or degree by which one thing is better or worse than another.

Nearby words

  1. oddity,
  2. oddly,
  3. oddment,
  4. oddments,
  5. oddness,
  6. odds and ends,
  7. odds and sods,
  8. odds are, the,
  9. odds-on,
  10. oddsbodikins


    at odds, at variance; in disagreement: They were usually at odds over political issues.
    by all odds, in every respect; by far; undoubtedly: She is by all odds the brightest child in the family.Also by long odds, by odds.

Origin of odds

First recorded in 1490–1500; special use of odd



adjective, odd·er, odd·est.

differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual, or expected: an odd choice.
singular or peculiar in a strange or eccentric way: an odd person; odd manners.
fantastic; bizarre: Her taste in clothing was rather odd.
leaving a remainder of 1 when divided by 2, as a number (opposed to even): Numbers like 3, 15, and 181 are odd numbers.
more or less, especially a little more (used in combination with a round number): I owe three hundred-odd dollars.
being a small amount in addition to what is counted or specified: I have five gross and a few odd dozens.
being part of a pair, set, or series of which the rest is lacking: an odd glove.
remaining after all others are paired, grouped, or divided into equal numbers or parts: Everybody gets two hamburgers and I get the odd one.
left over after all others are used, consumed, etc.
(of a pair) not matching: Do you know you're wearing an odd pair of socks?
not forming part of any particular group, set, or class: to pick up odd bits of information.
not regular, usual, or full-time; occasional; casual: odd jobs.
out-of-the-way; secluded: a tour to the odd parts of the Far East.
Mathematics. (of a function) having a sign that changes when the sign of each independent variable is changed at the same time.


something that is odd.
  1. a stroke more than the opponent has played.
  2. British.a stroke taken from a player's total score for a hole in order to give him or her odds.

Origin of odd

1300–50; Middle English odde < Old Norse oddi odd (number)

Related formsodd·ly, adverbodd·ness, noun

Can be confusedad add odd

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for odds

British Dictionary definitions for odds


pl n

(foll by on or against) the probability, expressed as a ratio, that a certain event will take placethe odds against the outsider are a hundred to one
the amount, expressed as a ratio, by which the wager of one better is greater than that of anotherhe was offering odds of five to one
the likelihood that a certain state of affairs will be found to be sothe odds are that he is drunk
the chances or likelihood of success in a certain undertakingtheir odds were very poor after it rained
an equalizing allowance, esp one given to a weaker side in a contest
the advantage that one contender is judged to have over anotherthe odds are on my team
British a significant difference (esp in the phrase it makes no odds)
at odds
  1. on bad terms
  2. appearing not to correspond or matchthe silvery hair was at odds with her youthful shape
give odds or lay odds to offer a bet with favourable odds
take odds to accept such a bet
over the odds
  1. more than is expected, necessary, etche got two pounds over the odds for this job
  2. unfair or excessive
what's the odds? British informal what difference does it make?



unusual or peculiar in appearance, character, etc
occasional, incidental, or randomodd jobs
leftover or additionalodd bits of wool
  1. not divisible by two
  2. represented or indicated by a number that is not divisible by twographs are on odd pages Compare even 1 (def. 7)
being part of a matched pair or set when the other or others are missingan odd sock; odd volumes
(in combination) used to designate an indefinite quantity more than the quantity specified in round numbersfifty-odd pounds
out-of-the-way or secludedodd corners
maths (of a function) changing sign but not absolute value when the sign of the independent variable is changed, as in y=x³See even 1 (def. 13)
odd man out a person or thing excluded from others forming a group, unit, etc


  1. one stroke more than the score of one's opponent
  2. an advantage or handicap of one stroke added to or taken away from a player's score
a thing or person that is odd in sequence or number
See also odds

Derived Formsoddly, adverboddness, noun

Word Origin for odd

C14: odde: from Old Norse oddi point, angle, triangle, third or odd number. Compare Old Norse oddr point, spot, place; Old English ord point, beginning

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for odds
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for odds



Divisible by 2 with a remainder of 1, such as 17 or -103.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with odds


In addition to the idioms beginning with odds

  • odds and ends
  • odds are, the

also see:

  • against all odds
  • at odds
  • by all odds
  • lay odds
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.