"What are the odds" is a popular idiom often used to express surprise or disbelief about a situation or event. It is typically used when the occurrence of an event is highly unlikely or coincidental.
"What are the odds" means the speaker is surprised by an unlikely or coincidental event.
The idiom "what are the odds" conveys that the speaker finds a particular situation or event highly unlikely or coincidental. It is often employed when people are faced with an unexpected event, a surprising coincidence, or something that seems almost too good to be true.
The speaker can use the phrase in a lighthearted manner, but it can also convey genuine disbelief or amazement at a situation.
The earliest recorded uses of the phrase "what are the odds" date back to the 18th century. It originates from gambling, where 'odds' refer to the likelihood of an event as suggested by the ratio of the probability of success or failure. Asking "What are the odds" was a way to express the unlikeliness of a particular outcome or eventuality.
"What are the odds that a younger hand takes in two certain cards?" —A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, Edmond Hoyle, 1748
"What are the odds that after a certain number of experiments have been made concerning the happening or failing of events, the cccidents of contingency will not afterwards vary from those of obserrvation..." —The Doctrine of Chances, Abraham de Moivre, 1718
Here are some examples of the idiom used in various contexts:
People commonly use the phrase in movies, television shows, and literature to convey surprise or disbelief about an unlikely or coincidental event.
Some examples include:
There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "What are the odds."
Some of these include:
One can use these alternatives interchangeably, depending on the context and the level of surprise or disbelief the speaker intends to convey.
"What are the odds" is a colloquial expression and may not be considered formal, but it can be used in both casual and semi-formal settings.
Yes, depending on the tone and context, the phrase can be used sarcastically to express amusement or irony.
"What are the odds" may be used in professional settings, but it is generally more appropriate for casual conversations or less formal situations.
People can use "what are the odds" in emails, text messages, or other written communication to express surprise or disbelief at a coincidence.
Use the phrase to express the unlikelihood of a certain event happening to express a sense of amazement. For example: 'What are the odds that we like the same coffee shop?"
Strangers can use "what are the odds" to express surprise or disbelief about a coincidental event or situation they both experience.
Yes, "what are the odds" can be used to express surprise or disbelief about both positive and negative situations, as long as the focus is on the improbability or coincidence of the event.
Both phrases are used to express surprise at an unlikely or coincidental event, but "what are the odds" focuses more on the improbability of the event, while "what a coincidence" highlights the unexpectedness of the situation.
Using "what are the odds" for highly probable events may come across as ironic or sarcastic, as the phrase is typically used to express surprise at unlikely or coincidental occurrences.
Yes, "what are the odds" is a popular phrase in movies, television shows, and literature, as it effectively conveys surprise or disbelief about coincidental events or situations.
As a final point, "What are the odds" is a relatable expression that captures a sense of amazement at coincidences or unexpected events. This idiom works well in a range of settings, from laid-back chats to more formal conversations.
Key aspects of "What are the odds":
Remembering to use it appropriately and understanding its meaning can enrich your English language skills and help you communicate more effectively. Like all idioms, using it in the right context is crucial to add color and expressiveness to your communication.