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Alternative formsEdit


Possibly adapted from "bet dollars to buttons" and "bet dollars to dumplings" that appeared in the 1880s, meaning "to feel almost certain" because the dollars are bet against something nearly worthless and perhaps shaped like a zero.[1]


bet a dollar to a doughnut

  1. (figuratively, mildly humorous) To declare with confidence.
    • 1911, Peter B. Kyne, chapter 19, in Captain Scraggs:
      I bet a dollar to a doughnut that fellow Lopez sold us out.
    • 1988 April 25, John F. Burns, "Canada Losing Patience With U.S. on Acid Rain," New York Times (retrieved 25 April 2015):
      [S]aying that environmental concerns are a major factor . . . Mr. Mulroney said "you can bet a dollar to a doughnut" that acid rain would feature in the campaign.
    • 2010 Sep. 13, Red Shannon, "The Greatest Athlete Who Never Was," Bleacher Report (retrieved 25 April 2015):
      I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut Usain Bolt is not the fastest human on the planet.

Usage notesEdit

  • Becoming dated in places where the price of a doughnut now approaches or exceeds one dollar.



  1. ^ Listening to America, Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).