Dollars to Donuts

Where is the phrase "Dollars to Donuts" from?

Sometime in the 1880's, the phrase "dollars to doughnuts" became a popular way of saying one was fairly certain of something. It replaced the similar terms "dollars to buttons" and "dollars to dumplings". The new phrase had the benefit of alliteration to give it an extra kick.

The combination of the two words seems to say that the dollars have a value, while the doughnuts are essentially "zeros", or shaped after the number zero, implying that they have no value.

But as with most phrases, if you really try and figure out a somewhat literal meaning, you end up more confused than when you began! In the case of "dollars to doughuts", it really isn't worded in a way that we would understand as a bet, and with inflation, the value of a doughnut is oftentimes greater than a dollar! :)

Where NOT to use it

Saying "dollars to donuts" may not always be appropriate. A few places you may want to avoid using the phrase include:

  • Work
  • Party
  • Date
  • School
  • Class Reunion
  • Grocery Store

How to use it

Using a new phrase is exciting! It instantly makes you a trendsetter - out in front of the curve, showcasing the latest & greatest - and it's even better when the item you are using is free! (See: Cost of a Good Phrase)

A few places you might try using the phrase "dollars to donuts":

  • Work
  • Party
  • Date
  • School
  • Class Reunion
  • Grocery Store

If it's on the Simpsons.....

Have you heard the phrase "dollars to donuts"?

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