What Are the Odds – Meaning & Example Sentences

“What are the odds” is a phrase that is very popular, and that you’ve probably seen before, whether it be in a movie, a television show, or even in real life. But what does the phrase mean, exactly? And where does it come from? This article will answer these questions.

What Are the Odds – Meaning

“What are the odds” is a phrase that is used to express surprise at something happening, particularly something that you would’ve thought was very unlikely and wasn’t going to actually happen. It’s a good phrase to elicit a feeling of surprise while being relatively low-key and relaxed about it.

what are the odds meaning

You’d therefore use “what are the odds” to talk about the fact that the chances for something to happen seemed low, and yet in spite of that fact, something happened anyway.

It’s a very handy phrase to keep in mind, because when you use it to express surprise at the fact that something happened, people will understand what you’re saying.

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How to Use “What Are the Odds” in a Sentence

Knowing how to use “what are the odds” properly in a sentence will help you express a wider range of surprise in your daily life, which is a very useful skill. Here are some example sentences to help you achieve this goal:

  1. What are the odds, when I arrived at the hotel, there she was again, just a few hours later.
  2. We first met up at the bank and now it’s a full week later, in a different country, what are the odds?
  3. Hey, what are the odds, I have that exact same pair of pants back home in my closet.
  4. What are the odds, can you believe that I also received that exact letter a while back?
  5. What are the odds that we all got the exact same offer to visit this man in his island mansion?
  6. You know, I think my mother used to have that model of car as well, what are the odds.
  7. What are the odds, I’ve also been thinking about diversifying my portfolio in the stock market.

What Are the Odds – Origin

“What are the odds” is a phrase that refers to the chances of something happening. “Odds” is a synonym for “chances”, so the phrase “what are the odds” comes from asking what the likelihood or chance of something occurring is. We don’t know who said it first.

What Are the Odds – Synonyms

The phrase “what are the odds” is a really handy way to refer to how unlikely it is that something happened. Naturally, there are other ways in which you can express this feeling of surprise. These example synonyms will show you alternative ways:

  • What are the chances
  • What’s the likelihood
  • How likely is it
  • How high are the odds
  • How low are the odds

Phrases That Mean the Opposite of “What Are the Odds”

“What are the odds” is a phrase that we use to express surprise at the fact that something happened. In the English language, there are phrases that mean the opposite, meaning phrases that express lack of surprise at the fact that something happened. Here are some of those phrases:

  • It was a given.
  • This was obviously going to happen.
  • Nothing else could possibly happen.
  • I am not surprised by this.
  • There was no other choice.

Incorrect Ways to Use “What Are the Odds”

“What are the odds” is a phrase that should not be used to refer to numerical odds, meaning the opposite of even numbers. While you can use “what are the odds” to talk about the chance of a numerical event occurring, “odds” here is a synonym for “chances”.

It’s important to remember that “what are the odds” is also an idiom that is not referring to real odds, and its function is not finding out what the odds of an event occurring are.

In What Situations Can You Use “What Are the Odds”?

There are plenty of situations in which it makes complete sense to use “what are the odds”. Firstly, it’s an expression that you can always use to talk about the fact that something surprising has occurred. So anytime something surprising happens, you can use “what are the odds”.

More specifically, if a specific weather event hits on a day where the forecast said it wouldn’t, that would be a good opportunity to say “what are the odds”.

Same with whenever extraordinary things happen on special days, such as snow on a wedding, you can always use “what are the odds”.