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.
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.

1490–1500; special use of odd

Dictionary.com Unabridged


adjective, odder, oddest.
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.
a stroke more than the opponent has played.
British. a stroke taken from a player's total score for a hole in order to give him or her odds.

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

oddly, adverb
oddness, noun

ad, add, odd.

1. extraordinary, unusual, rare, uncommon. See strange.

1. ordinary, usual, common.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To odds
World English Dictionary
odd (ɒd)
1.  unusual or peculiar in appearance, character, etc
2.  occasional, incidental, or random: odd jobs
3.  leftover or additional: odd bits of wool
4.  a.  not divisible by two
 b.  Compare even represented or indicated by a number that is not divisible by two: graphs are on odd pages
5.  being part of a matched pair or set when the other or others are missing: an odd sock; odd volumes
6.  (in combination) used to designate an indefinite quantity more than the quantity specified in round numbers: fifty-odd pounds
7.  out-of-the-way or secluded: odd corners
8.  maths See even (of a function) changing sign but not absolute value when the sign of the independent variable is changed, as in y=x³
9.  odd man out a person or thing excluded from others forming a group, unit, etc
10.  golf
 a.  one stroke more than the score of one's opponent
 b.  an advantage or handicap of one stroke added to or taken away from a player's score
11.  a thing or person that is odd in sequence or number
[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]

odds (ɒdz)
pl n (foll by on or against)
1.  the probability, expressed as a ratio, that a certain event will take place: the odds against the outsider are a hundred to one
2.  the amount, expressed as a ratio, by which the wager of one better is greater than that of another: he was offering odds of five to one
3.  the likelihood that a certain state of affairs will be found to be so: the odds are that he is drunk
4.  the chances or likelihood of success in a certain undertaking: their odds were very poor after it rained
5.  an equalizing allowance, esp one given to a weaker side in a contest
6.  the advantage that one contender is judged to have over another: the odds are on my team
7.  (Brit) a significant difference (esp in the phrase it makes no odds)
8.  at odds
 a.  on bad terms
 b.  appearing not to correspond or match: the silvery hair was at odds with her youthful shape
9.  give odds, lay odds to offer a bet with favourable odds
10.  take odds to accept such a bet
11.  over the odds
 a.  more than is expected, necessary, etc: he got two pounds over the odds for this job
 b.  unfair or excessive
12.  informal (Brit) what's the odds? what difference does it make?

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1300, "constituting a unit in excess of an even number," from O.N. oddi "third or additional number," as in odda-maðr "third man, odd man (who gives the casting vote)," odda-tala "odd number." O.N. oddi means lit. "point, angle;" related via notion of "triangle" to oddr "point of a weapon," from
P.Gmc. *uzdaz "pointed upward" (cf. O.E. ord "point of a weapon, spear, source, beginning," O.Fris. ord "point, place," Du. oord "place, region," O.H.G. ort "point," Ger. Ort "place"), from PIE *uzdho- (cf. Lith. us-nis "thistle"). None of the other languages, however, shows the O.N. development from "point" to "third number." Used from late 14c. to indicate a surplus over any given sum. Sense of "strange, peculiar" first attested 1580s from notion of "odd one out, unpaired one of three" (attested earlier, c.1400, as "singular" in a positive sense of "renowned, rare, choice"). Odd job (c.1770) is so called from notion of "not regular." Odd lot "incomplete or random set" is from 1897. The international order of Odd Fellows began as local social clubs in England, late 18c., with Masonic-type trappings; formally organized 1813 in Manchester.

in wagering sense, found first in Shakespeare ("2 Henry IV," 1597), probably from earlier sense of "amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another" (1548), from odd (q.v.), though the sense evolution is uncertain. Always treated as a singular, though obviously a plural (cf. news).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
odd   (ŏd)  Pronunciation Key 
Divisible by 2 with a remainder of 1, such as 17 or -103.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with odds, also see against all odds; at odds; by all odds; lay odds.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
While the odds may not be in favor of these actors in the arena, they certainly
  were in the casting room.
The odds are that the whole question is not worth the poorest thought which the
  scholar has lost in listening to the controversy.
The big-sky vistas were at odds with the image of a deep, dark swamp.
But even if you're driving straight from home to your picnic site, odds are it
  won't make it.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature