Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bet v.

In phrases

bet a fat man (against a pile of shit) (v.) [shit n. (1a)]

(US black) to assure or to believe with absolute confidence.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 70: ‘Aw, he ain’t sick. Ah bet you a fat man he ain’t,’ Joe said.
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 21 Nov. 16: I’ll bet a Fat Man they’re hipped now and solidly in there.
[US]Frontier June 6: I’ll bet you, as they say in Harlem, a fat man, that not many American children being taught American history have any real sense of what that collision was like.
[US]D. Goines Swamp Man 50: I’ll bet a fat man against a pile of shit.
R. Jackson African Amer. Communication and Identities 13: Riley looked hard at Buster and seeing the seriousness of the face felt the excitement of a story rise up within him. ‘Buster, I’ll bet a fat man you lying.’.
bet a five pound note to a raspberry (v.)

to make what one considers to be a certain bet.

[Aus]E. Curry Hysterical Hist. of Aus. 248: I’m willing to bet a five pound note to a raspberry that old Fitz could do it.
bet a funky monkey and two old maids (v.)

(US black) to be certain.

[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 17: I’ll bet you a funky monkey and two old maids you would have told me what I could do with this food.
bet a pound to a piece of shit (v.) (also bet a pound to a pinch of poop) [shit n. (1a)/poop n.2 (3)]

a statement denoting the speaker’s absolute confidence, whether in a real bet or merely a point of view.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 72/1: since 1940s.
bet London to a brick (on) (v.) (also bet London to a lump of crap) [crap n.1 (2)]

(Scot./Aus.) to lay long odds; thus phr. (it’s) London to a brick.

[UK]Egan Boxiana IV 551: 10 to 1. The poundage went round in vain, and a Cockney called out ‘all London to a brick’].
[UK]B. McGhee Cut and Run (1963) 51: Ye can bet London to a lump o’ crap that’s alarm-wire.
R. Aitchison Illegitimates 84: If you hang around this town it’s London to a brick that the police will grab you again.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Billy Borker Yarns Again 108: ‘Close: but Magger by a head,’ the course announcer Ken Howard says, ‘London to a brick on Magger.’.
J. Aitken Land of Fortune 45: As they haven’t any idea how to drive, it’s London to a brick they’ll have a knock or two in the first week.
Weekly Hansard (Aus.) I 3340/1: I will bet London to a brick that [...] no attempt will be made to recoup that tax.
B. Spencer In the Footsteps of Ghosts 224: I would bet London to a brick that those who climbed it out of sheer curiosity would gain some idea of the problems we had.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 229: I’ll bet London to a brick that [...] a thousand years from now [...] only two sorts of men will be remembered: poets and killers.
L.J. Spears Jack Flagg 105: If I had truly been asleep, it’s London to a brick that we would have all been murdered.
posting at 2 Apr. 🌐 You can bet London to a brick on that the spin unit, insanely useless though it is, will continue to wallow in the trough at public expense and at the expense of much needed education.
bet one’s balls (v.)

see under balls n.

bet one’s boots (v.) (also bet one’s best Sunday boots, …bootlace, ...braces, …breeches, ...socks, gamble one’s socks)

(orig. US) to be certain, to wager everything in total confidence.

[US]Potter Jrnl (Coudersport, PA) 11 June 1/2: I’ll bet my boots against a jack-knife the morning express is off.
[US]Red Wing Sentinel (MN) 13 Aug. 4/2: I’ll bet my boots he has his hands full.
[US]State Rights Democrat (Albany, OK) 8 Dec. 3/2: A friend of ours, an over-sanguine Democrat, bet his boots — the pair he had on — that the Democratic ticket would be elected.
[US]Fayetteville Obs. (TN) 27 Apr. 1/4: He’s sloped with the money [...] bet my boots on that.
[US] ‘Horace Greeley’s Party’ Farmer of Chappaqua Songster 34: You can bet your breeches, / Dat I vill be on hand!
[US]F.H. Hart Sazerac Lying Club 51: You better bet your boots, boys, I wasn’t slow in takin’ aim.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Sunshine 283: ‘You bet your boots,’ says Collingbourne.
[US]Saline Co. Jrnl (KS) 17 May 4/3: I’ll bet my socks on it.
[UK]Sporting Times 15 Mar. 2/1: When a woman wants a thing you can bet your bootlace against any amount of Administrations stopping her.
[UK]De Frece & Pratt [perf. Vesta Tilley] Three Chapters 🎵 You bet your boots that Harry's come to stay!
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 68: You bet your boots there won’t be no one there.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Politics’ in Sandburrs 93: You can gamble your socks me friends is a flossy bunch.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Dec. 22/4: You bet your socks me an’ Jim was all there the mornin’ the second egg was due.
[UK]Gem 16 Mar. 11: You can bet your boots on that!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Oct. 18/2: The bloomin’ pubkeepers round here are making too flamin’ much out of the game. A fair thing’s orlright; but I reckon all beer ought to be 3d. – 3d. er pint. I’m votin’ reduction, you can bet your socks.
[UK]Gem 4 Nov. 4: They’ve got something on, you can bet your best Sunday boots on that.
[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 34: ’N’ if he does cart yeh out Sundee, bet yer boots he on’y goes a walkin’ distance.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 404: Waiting, guvnor? Most deciduously. Bet your boots on.
[UK]M. Marshall Tramp-Royal on the Toby 174: You can bet your braces that cushioned seats and uncushioned seats are at the bottom of it.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 352: You may bet your boots that some of the piccanins have genius too.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 172: You bet your heliotrope socks it has.
[UK]J. Curtis Look Long Upon a Monkey 132: However rough the police treat them, you can bet your boots they’re even sorrier when they’re thrown on the tender mercies of the Prison Commission.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 36: He always has – you can bet yer boots on that, Blue.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 240: I said, ‘There’s something wrong, isn’t there?’ ‘You bet your boots there is!’.
[US]M. Braun Judas Tree (1983) 99: You bet your boots I am!
[Aus]M. Walker How to Kiss a Crocodile 114: ‘You can bet your boots next door they’ll be in there saying their prayers and crossing themselves’.
bet one’s bottom dollar (v.) (also bet one’s bottom ace, ...last dollar, stake one’s bottom dollar, wager one’s bottom dollar)

to be absolutely certain.

[N.O. Crescent (LA) 29 Aug. 2/4: They will [...] back him with their bottom dollar].
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 26 Nov. 3/1: Each nag had their favorites, who were willing to wager their ‘bottom dollar,’ using a common phrase, as to the result.
[US]Evansville Dly Jrnl (IN) 27 Sept. n.p.: Willard [...] advises friends to bet the bottom dollar on his election [...] to bet their last dollar on him.
[Scot]Falkirk Herald 16 Jan. 3/4: The glowing acounts received [...] pronouncing Heenan a monster of muscle [...] and advising him to bet his bottom dollar on the American.
[US]Lewiston Gaz. (PA) 11 Sept. 1/5: When he wants to deal or fight with a man he proceeeds to ‘go for him,’ and ‘I’ll bet my bottom dollar’ is the strongest backing to his expressed opinion .
[US]L.A. Dly Herald 23 Apr. 1/6: I would have bet my bottom dollar in the Dutchman’s acquittal.
Mr. Field in Truth (London) 8 Feb. n.p.: I saw the whole play; admired the Queen’s dignity, and you may bet your bottom dollar I don’t want to go again [F&H].
[UK]Leeds Times 25 Mar. 6/5: You can bet your bottgom dollar on that, colonel.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Feb. 12/1: The Echo man says it would be ‘easy,’ and only entail a ‘moment’s work;’ and on his dictum we will bet our bottom dollar, though every one of our senses bear emphatic testimony to the contrary.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Elections’ Punch 12 Dec. 277/2: Why a Primrose League Dame [...] Sez, ‘Do your best, dear Mister ’arry!’ — I did, too, you bet your last dollar!
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 16 May 5/4: A man may ‘bet his bottom dollar’ that he will get a sentence of three months.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 148: As far as fortune is concerned I’ll bet my bottom dollar there ain’t one’ll come within a hundred miles of her.
[UK]Shields Dly Gaz. 12 Feb. 3/7: Time after time it has seemed that Westoe’s chances were good enough to stake one’s bottom dollar.
[UK]E.W. Hornung Black Mask (1992) 210: But you may bet your bottom dollar that if there’s any boodle in the flat it’s in this room.
[UK]C. Tomalin Venturesome Tom 46: You can bet your bottom dollar more than half of the flock has been killed by the dingoes.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 181: That’s what Peterson’s playing for — I’ll stake my bottom dollar.
[UK]A. Christie Secret Adversary (1955) 112: You can bet your bottom dollar I do.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 146: He ain’t up to no good, and you can bet yer bottom dollar on that.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 90: She said to people sitting with her that she would bet her bottom dollar that he was taking Nawnim up to Town to throw him at Mark’s head.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Seraph on the Suwanee (1995) 772: You bet your bottom dollar if there’s anything to be made out of it, and you show me how to go about it.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Longstreet Pedlocks (1971) 160: Bet your bottom ace on that.
[US]Sonny Boy Williamson ‘Fattening Frogs For Snakes’ 🎵 But I bet you my bottom dollar, I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 103: I’ll bet my bottom dollar it can run.
[Aus]J. Holledge Great Aust. Gamble 65: [I]f Sir Charles had been pining for an heir, you can bet your bottom dollar that the author did not forget.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 228: If his house caught fire you can bet your bottom dollar he’d come rushing out with an armload of his own negatives.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 11: You can bet your bottom dollar that’s what he was on about.
[US]S. King Dolores Claiborne 141: No fitted sheets for Vera Donovan, you c’n bet your bottom dollar on that.
[US]Wkly World News 2 Mar. 37/1: You can bet your bottom dollar that a bunch of suicide bombers aren’t going to cause our reality show winners any trouble.
J. Lessman Hope Undaunted 131: You can bet your bottom dollar it won’t happen again, because so help me, if it does, I’ll kick your sorry butt myself.
bet one’s buttons (v.) (also bet one’s gig-lamps, ...a hat, bet one’s hat,’s last (shirt) button, …last pair of pants, ...pants, ...shirt, …Sunday shirt, wager one’s beaver)

to bet all one’s money, to go the limit, to commit oneself unreservedly to something.

[[UK]Greene & Lodge Lady Alimony V iv: I durst wager my Bever on’t].
[US]Yankee Notions Feb. 64/2: l’ll bet my hat they’ll every one be gone smack smooth before Valentine's day.
[US]‘Q.K. Philander Doesticks’ [Mortimer Neal Thomson] Doesticks, What He Says 128: Bull Dogge offers to bet his hat, she don’t know a cabbage from a new cheese.
[UK]Northern Whig 27 Dec. 3/1: I’ll bet my hat th’ ain’t nary a priest [...] that cairs conviction to the min’ like the reveren’ Taranfeather.
Tiverton Gaz. 4 July 3/6: I’ll bet you my hat, if you think that I ‘oughter’.
R. Grant Little Tin Gods 6: Ne’er will be caught again, Not if we know ourselves, you bet your hat on it! [DA].
[US]F. Francis Jr Saddle and Mocassin 145: ‘You bet your buttons!’ murmured Squito proudly.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VI 181/1: Bet one’s shirt.
Ariziona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 31 Oct. 4/1: Thar’ s something wrong with him, and I’ll bet my hat on it.
[UK]Punch 26 Nov. 252: Some on you carn’t emagine there’s sech ’orrors on the earth; / But there are, you bet your buttons.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 62: Put Your Shirt on It, when a horse is considered a certainty for a race it is said, ‘you can bet your shirt on it’.
[US]Dly Morn. Astorian (OR) 13 Dec. 2/4: On that you can bet your gig-lamps.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Dec. 3/2: The man who does that, you can bet your hat, / Would wed his dead wife’s sister.
[US]W. Irwin Confessions of a Con Man 153: Later in the game you [...] induce him to bet his shirt.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 265: There ain’t many places like this left, go bet your shirt on that, boy.
[US]P. Kyne Cappy Ricks 187: I’ll bet a hat you telephoned that son of a sea cook.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 205: ‘So you are really going,’ said Andrews. [...] ‘You bet your pants I am, Andy.’.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 30: I’ll bet my hat that y’ change yer mind.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 89: An’ yu can bet yore Sunday shirt that Hope is ’bout the maddest town this side o’ the Rockies.
[Can]R. Service ‘The Ballad of the Ice Worm Cocktail’ Bar Room Ballads (1978) 633: I’ll bet my bally hat, / You’re only spoofin’ me, old chap.
[Scot]Sunday Post 3 May 15/2: The soldier [...] is willing ‘to bet his pants,’ woollen, long, that the man on the left of the picture is [etc.].
[NZ]I. Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 5: When man really comes up against nature, you can bet your last shirt buttons on nature.
[UK]R. Gary Ski Bum 54: I bet my last pair of pants she is a virgin.
[US]J. Schaefer Mavericks (1968) 101: I’d bet my last button that same hoss there’ll out-perform any of them fat bulldoggy quarter-hosses any day.
bet one’s eyes (v.)

1. (US gambling) to watch a game but not get involved in the betting.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 11: Betting his eyes A term used by gamblers when a ‘sucker’ looks on at the game, but does not bet.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 8: Betting His Eyes, when one looks at a game without wagering.
[US]D. Hammett Maltese Falcon (1965) 326: ‘I have offered you five thousand dollars for— .’ Spade thumped Cairo's wallet with the backs of his fingers and said: ‘There's nothing like five thousand dollars here. You're betting your eyes.

2. (US) to commit oneself unreservedly.

[US]Asheville Citizen (NC) 5 Aug. 2/3: Why, that’s Black John Gordon, and I’ll bet my eyes he will [...] either kill or cowhide you.
[US]Kentucky Irish Amer. (Louisville, KY) 23 Mar. 3/4: Why, I’d bet my two eyes —.
bet one’s head to a China orange (v.)

to be very certain.

[UK]Morn. Advertiser (London) 13 Nov. 3/5: My head to a China orange, as Lord Brougham used to say.
[UK]C. Kingsley Two Years Ago I 6: There’s Jack at it again! making poetry, I’ll bet my head to a China orange.
[UK]East London Obs. 22 Sept. 6/3: ‘I’ll bet my head toa China orange, as the saying is, that that rascal Watts married this poor girl’.
bet one’s neck (v.)

(US) to be absolutely sure, to commit oneself unreservedly.

[US]Helena Indep. (MT) 30 Nov. 4/2: You can bet your neck I enjoyed life for a few weeks after Harrison downed him.
[US]Oasis (Arizola, AZ) 25 July 8/1: When his hide is filled with booze, / You bet your neck he’s tough.
[US]Worthington Advance (MN) 5 Apr. 2/5: A‘re you a Buffalo?’ [...] ‘You bet your neck I am’.
[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City, UT) 7 Sept. 11/2: My Gawd! Dollie and I were just wishing we’d never crossed that dirty pond. It’s our first crossing, and you bet your neck it’s our last.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Corkscrew’ Story Omnibus (1966) 214: ‘Who shot him?’ ‘One of the Circle H.A.R., you can bet your neck on that!’.
bet one’s (sweet) ass (v.) (also bet one’s (black) arse,’s bottom,’s (sweet) butt) [arse n. (1)/ass n. (2)/butt n.1 (1a)]

a phr. used to imply the certainty of a suggested course of action; usu. as you bet your ass.

[UK](con. WWI) J.B. Wharton Squad 244: You c’n bet yer ass that’s orders to go back up agen.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 424: You bet your ass we’re a-comin’ out tonight.
[US]G. Metalious Peyton Place (1959) 107: I’ll bet my sweet young ass that Leslie has met his match.
[US]M. Shulman Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1959) 177: You betcher butt.
[US]H. Ellison ‘We Take Care of Our Dead’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 57: ‘You callin’ me yellow [...]’ ‘You bet your ass I am!’.
[US]G.L. Coon Meanwhile, Back at the Front (1962) 35: You bet your ass it’s a lot of readers.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Lady Bug, Lady Bug’ in Gentleman Junkie 50: Hate? You bet your ass I know it.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 109: People knew who she was in Willies. You bet ya sweet ass they did.
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 49: ‘You tried at least.’ ‘Bet your sweet ass I tried.’.
[US]R.E. Alter Carny Kill (1993) 52: Bet your sweet butt! First and last.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 21: ‘Do you think they [i.e. pornographic films] could be improved?’ ‘Ha, you bet your sweet ass they could be improved!’.
[US]S. Ace Stand On It (1979) 174: You bet your little bottom I’m going to win the race.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 9: ‘Think I wouldn’t do it?’ ‘I think you would.’ ‘You bet your ass.’.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 28: ‘He could really make some cases for us.’ ‘Bet your ass.’.
[US]B. Gutcheon New Girls (1982) 123: ‘It wouldn’t be that bad,’ said Ann doubtfully. ‘You bet your ass it would.’.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 90: You can bet your sweet ass we’d never find him.
[US]C. Hiaasen Double Whammy (1990) 161: That mudhole Maurepas never saw bass that pretty, you can bet your ass.
[NZ]A. Duff One Night Out Stealing 68: Living in a joint like this you can bet your black arse he got here by robbing the poor.
[UK]M. Dibdin Dying of the Light 30: Sure am! Lordy! Bet your sweet ass!
[Aus]Penguin Bk of All-New Aus. Jokes 167: You can bet your arse I didn’t get a triple bogey!
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 341: ‘Well, Dwayne [...] that’s a very honorable attitude.’ ‘Bet your ass it is, pal!’.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 122: Ellen grins slyly. ‘You bet your ass it could.’.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 269: ‘They said they’d come back.’ ‘And they will. You can bet your ass on that’.
[Aus] J.J. DeCeglie ‘Death Cannot Be Delegated’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] You could bet your motherfucking arse on that.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘Would you do it again?’ [...] Frank gave me a hard look. ‘Bet your sweet ass. In a fucking heartbeat’.
[UK]‘Aidan Truhen’ Price You Pay 148: You bet your sweet fucking ass it would [be interesting].
bet one’s (sweet) life (v.) (also bet one’s bones, ...sweet by-and-by)

to be absolutely sure, to commit oneself unreservedly; thus (you) bet your life!

[US]N.Y. Dly Herald 10 Mar. 4/1: You would bet your life upon it that he had not remembered the speech of yesterday.
[US]Columbian (Olympia, Wash. Territory) 2 Oct. n.p.: Our thanks are due [...] for a copy of the Holy Bible, Webster’s Dictionary, and a map of the territory of Oregon. They will all be faithfully preserved and frequently referred to — and ‘bet your life’ on that.
[US]‘Timothy Titcomb’ Letters to Young People 140: As I came with in hearing of their voices [...] I heard these words from the woman’s lips: ‘You may bet your life on that.’ I was disgusted. I could almost have boxed her ears.
[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 17 Nov. 4/1: Continually you will hear men [...] making some positive assertion, [...] ‘You bet your life,’ or ‘You bet your bones’.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 453: ‘Dy’e think yer can keep cool enough ter work this business?’ ‘Bet yer life on’t!’ replied the man of hogs, enthusiastically.
[US]Louisiana Democrat 14 Feb. 1/6: ‘D’y take her?’ ‘Bet cher sweet life I didn’t’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 22/4: When rumours rife of deadly strife / Our ears are daily reaching; / You bet your life we’ll tell each wife / ‘We’ll have no blasted screeching.’.
[UK]M. Roberts Western Avernus (1924) 173: You can bet your life it [i.e. a town] will be livelier when you leave.
[US]F. Francis Jr Saddle and Mocassin 146: You’ll find me heeled, too, you can bet your sweet life!
[UK]Sporting Times 21 Feb. 3/1: Readers may bet their sweet lives that everything was on a magnificently nay plus hultray scale.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Jan. 6/6: Blue me you bet your sweet life I’ll stick to it like glue to a basket.
[US]P.L. Dunbar ‘A Confidence’ Lyrics of Lowly Life 1745: Betcher life ’at I feel proud / When she passes by the crowd.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 12: I’m put here to execute the law, and you bet your life I’ll do it.
[NZ]H. Thompson ‘Another Station Ballad’ in Ballads About Business and Back-Block Life 43: I’ll eat my bloomin’ hat, lads [...] You can bet yer life on that.
[Aus]Age (Queanbeyan, NSW) 12 Jan. 2/6: Supposing any one of us was to get lumbered and flopped into that match box clink and a fire was to burst out, you can bet your sweet life that the lovely John Hopper and his missus and the kinchins would do a Carrington and leave the poor philgarlick in the booby hatch to frizzle.
[US]Virginia Enterprise (MN) 21 July 11/1: Ma’moiselle Dodo sat perched on the balcony rail and screamed ‘You betcher sweet’!
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 242: You bet your sweet life, I did.
[Aus]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 39: You bet your sweet life you did!
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 30 Dec. 1/1: ‘Slang is the sign of life in a language.’ Bet your sweet life it is.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 179: You c’n bet your sweet life that guy’s bin double-crossed by a Jane.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 64: You can betcha sweet an’ holy life that some guy will be busy startin’ a big lion hunt just to show her what a swell guy he is.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 64: Was Zola in the Franco-Prussian War? Bet your life ’e wasn’t—’e pushed off to Marseilles.
[US]O. Welles Touch of Evil [film script] vargas: Captain, you won’t have any trouble with me. quinlan: You bet your sweet life I won’t.
[US]Kerouac letter 16 Feb. in Charters II (1999) 329: You can bet your sweet life I’ll never contract a ‘legal’ marriage again.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 316: You bet your sweet fucking life I am!
[US]W. Diehl Hooligans (2003) 19: If it was the Feebies, you can bet your sweet by-and-by they’d be all over town.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 13: You can bet your life he’ll be just about unrecognisable.
R.L. Felman in Congressional Record 19 Nov. n.p.: You can bet your life we are justifiably outraged and fighting mad. Quite frankly.
in Sun. Mirror (London) 5 Mar. 🌐 His only option will be to head home, where you can bet your sweet life thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money will be spent housing and protecting this monster.
[Ire]P Howard Braywatch 11: You bet your focking life the parents still blame her.
bet on the wrong side of the post (v.) (also run on the wrong side of the post) [SE winning post]

to make a losing bet.

[UK]Sporting Mag. July IV 220/2: In my younger days I was exceeding fond of gaming [...] but fortune taking a different turn, I ran on the wrong side of the post.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
bet the farm (v.)

(US) lit. and fig., to bet unreservedly.

[US]Indiana Gaz. (PA) 28 July 47: [headline] Bet the farm on ‘Babe’ winning [i.e. an Oscar].
R. Nixon published interview with American Society of Newspaper Editors 23: I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, but I’d bet the main house. I wouldn’t even bet the outhouse on Mondale.
Triangle Business Journal 15 Oct. 🌐 [headline] Gold’s glistening now but don’t bet the farm.
[US]C. Hiaasen Sick Puppy 248: If you guys hadn’t gotten romantically involved, I’d bet the farm on it.
[US](con. WWII) R. Mooney Father of the Man Prologue: He bet the farm nearly every time and died with enough happy cabbage in his pockets to feed the First Army.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 177: I could not have been wrong if I’d bet the farm on the Kaiser.
I’ll bet (also I bet)

a phr. used to imply (depending on context) the speaker’s enthusiastic or sceptical response to what they have just heard.

[US]Atlanta Constitution 12 Mar. 1/3: ‘I bet’ or ‘you bet’ is bad enough amongst men who are trading horses or land.
[US]W. Brown Run, Chico, Run (1959) 25: ‘You see him around last night?’ ‘Naw. Oscar wouldn’t let him out that late.’ [...] ‘Yeah, I’ll bet.’.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 30: ‘It’s also an odd place to check it.’ ‘I’m lazy.’ ‘I’ll bet.’.
want to bet?

a challenging refutation of the previous speaker’s assertion.

[UK]G. Tremlett Little Legs 21: ‘You’re too young for this!’ ‘Wanna bet?’.

In exclamations


see separate entry.


see separate entry.

you bet! (also you betcha! you betcher! you bet your boots! ...your socks!)

(orig. US) a general excl. of affirmation, agreement, certainly! I’ll say so! indeed!

Phoenix (Sacramento, CA) 22 Nov. 2/2: I saw all the ‘boys’, and distributed to them the papers and ‘you bet’, they were in great demand [DA].
[US]C. Abbey diary 24 June in Gosnell Before the Mast (1989) 197: D. waiting for me with the carriage & about 10 fellows whom I had not forgotten ‘You Bet’.
[UK]F. Whymper Travel and Adventure in Alaska 309: Ask them how they are, and the answer is pat, ‘Oh, gay and festive,’ with probably the affirmative positive, ‘you bet,’ or may be ‘you bet your boots.’.
[US]Atlanta Constitution 12 Mar. 1/3: ‘I bet’ or ‘you bet’ is bad enough amongst men who are trading horses or land.
[US]Cultivator and Country Gentleman (US) 10 Dec. 799/1: It is finer to say ‘you bet,’ than to answer a simple yes.
[US]A. Trumble Crooked Life in Nat. Police Gaz. 6 may 6/2: ‘It’s howling cold to-night’ ‘You bet’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 10/1: What a time we should have altogether! You bet!
[UK]Charles Nott ‘In Old Kent Road’ 🎵 Said he, ‘Oh blow me, if it ain’t my Ria!’ She hitched her bustle up, and said, ‘You bet!’.
[US]P.L. Dunbar ‘The Party’ Lyrics of Lowly Life 199: Dey had a gread big pahty down to Tom’s de othah nigh; / Was I dah? You bet!
[UK]Marvel 29 May 1: ‘You bet!’ cried Yates.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 148: ‘That’s the life, you bet,’ he sighed.
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 17 Aug. 12/3: You are on to some bloomin’ game, then, Nupper?’ ‘You bet!’.
[UK]Marvel 15 Oct. 19: You bet!
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper XL 5 331: ‘You bet!’ came the answer.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 109: ‘Still got the dorg, I see, Kid,’ he said [...]. ‘You betcha,’ was the proud rejoinder.
[US]F.P. Adams So Much Velvet 75: From girls in Wither, Cowley, Fletcher [...] I’ve swiped, you betcher.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 121: ‘Your wife’s a mighty sweet little woman, Mr. Mason.’ ‘You bet,’ said Coke.
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 36: ‘Apres la guerre finis, you bet your socks!’.
[UK]Wodehouse Laughing Gas 61: ‘You’re home-sick, what?’ ‘You betcher.’.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 7: ‘Say, this town is the berries.’ ‘You betcha.’.
[Aus]D. Stivens Courtship of Uncle Henry 124: ‘You bet,’ Tom said. ‘You look real nice.’.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 48: The rest of the aunts didn’t say, ‘You betcher!’.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 115: I have the wife. Lots of pretty girls before that too, you betcha!
[UK]Oh Boy! No. 20 13: ‘Are you all right, Gail?’ ‘You bet!’.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 6: ‘Do you know her?’ ‘You bet I know her.’.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 31: ‘It’s all very exciting, I’m sure.’ Jim Tom said, ‘Aw, you bet. We got the Itasca Wampus Cats coming in.’.
[UK]A. Bleasdale No Surrender 48: ross: Trouble? [...] mike: You bet.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 235: ‘And warn your brother . . . Just in case the guy shows up.’ ‘You betcha.’.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 143: ‘Could you recognize the man again?’ [...] ‘You bet!’.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 119: ‘Are you really going to quit?’ [...] ‘You betcha. I’ve had enough of this shithole.’.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 Mar. 5: ‘Can I quote you on this?’ ‘You bet, sonny.’.
(you) bet your life! (also (you) bet a quid!, (you) bet your sweet (life)!)

(orig. US) an excl. of affirmation.

[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 174: I made it lively for the boys, Deacon! Bet yer life!
[UK]Derry Jrnl 23 May 4/3: No! That’s what’s the matter, you bet your life it is.
[US]Hartford Herald (KY) 3 Oct. 6/1: Bet your sweet life you’ll fall soon then.
[UK]Burnley Advertiser 25 Oct. 3/3: You are bound to have the flesh, are you?’ ‘You bet your life!’.
[UK]Manchester Courier 12 Jan. 9/6: You‘ were there, were you?’ ‘Bet your life I wuz there’.
[UK]Wells Jrnl 2 Oct. 2/6: You bet your life I’ll take the 50 an’ go to-morrer.
[US]J. London ‘And ’Frisco Kid Came Back’ in High School Aegis X (4 Nov.) 2–4: ‘Yer an angel,’ sez he. ‘Yer bet yer sweet life,’ sez I.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 118: Bet cher life!
[Aus]B. Espinasse ‘Dunno‘ in Bulletin Reciter n.p.: Broke it off? You bet a quid!
[US]St Paul Globe (MN) 29 Nov. 3/1: You bet your life, it ain’t!
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ You Can Search Me 62: ‘You betcha sweet!’ Dodo chimed in.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 168: ‘That you Jimmie?’ ‘Betcherlife.’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Omaha Slim’ Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 117: ‘Are you wit’ me?’ ‘Betcher life.’.
[UK]‘Taffrail’ Sub 82: ‘I suppose you’ll come down on me for a brand-new outfit [...]’ ‘Bet your life, father,’ said I.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 🌐 n.p.: ‘I was just telling him,’ said the other, ‘to be careful as hell not to get in wrong. If ye once get in wrong in this damn army . . . it’s hell.’ ‘You bet yer life.’.
‘R. Crompton’ Just—William 174: You betcher life!
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 57: ‘Smart girl, Mr. Riley.’ ‘You bet your life, Mr. Regan.’.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 60: ‘Swell, Langdon. Okie-doke. An’ I play it the way we said.’ [...] ‘You bet your life.’.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 151: You bet your life.
[SA]IOL News (Western Cape) 28 Jan. 🌐 Are there atrocties in Haiti? You bet your life.