What Does Bet Your Bottom Dollar Mean?

Bet Your Bottom Dollar Meaning

Definition: A sure thing.

This idiom describes something that is sure or certain to happen. If someone says that you should bet your bottom dollar on an outcome, he or she believes the outcome is guaranteed.

If you bet your bottom dollar on something, you are so sure of the result that you would be willing to place a monetary bet on it—and your bottom dollar at that. What does bottom dollar mean? Your bottom dollar is the last dollar you have to your name; it’s the last dollar in a stack.

Origin of Bet Your Bottom Dollar

Bet my bottom dollar The idiom bet your bottom dollar originates from the United States. Like many idioms, there are multiple ideas as to its origin.

Reportedly, one of the first uses of the phrase is from an 1856 newspaper, which included a line about choosing a presidential candidate.

The line read,

  • “I’m goin’ to vote for you [James Polk] – you can bet your bottom dollar on that!”

The phrase indicated that the voter was so confident that he would vote for James Polk that he told other people they should be willing to bet on it.

Other origin stories point to poker players in the 1800s. If players were certain that their poker hand would win the game, they would put their dollar underneath the stack of money being bet in the middle of the table, thus betting with the bottom dollar.

Examples of Bet Your Bottom Dollar

I bet your bottom dollar When people say you should bet your bottom dollar on something, they are certain that said thing will happen. For example, if you are a huge Star Wars fans and someone asks you if you plan to see the upcoming Star Wars movie, you might respond saying,

  • You can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to see Star Wars. I’m going opening night!

People might say that you should bet your bottom dollar on the way someone will act or the outcome of an event. Since this idiom does not necessitate the placing of a monetary bet, anyone can say they are willing to bet their bottom dollar.

It is used simply as a statement of reassurance and guarantee.

More Examples

  • “Bet your bottom dollar the euro stays strong.” –USA Today
  • “Bet your bottom dollar that “Annie the Musical” is coming to Segerstrom Center.” –LA Times

Summary

The American idiom bet your bottom dollar means that somebody is certain that the outcome of an event will be what he or she expects.

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