Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ODDS, n., v. Also oods (Sh. 1899 Shetland News (28 Oct.)), phs. a misprint, and double pl. oddses (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 127, Abd. 1959). Sc. usages, the tendency being for Sc. to use odds where Eng. uses odd:

I. n. 1. Difference, inequality, disparity (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 64; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Gen. construed as a sing., and freq. followed by the preps. o (of, on), = in, between. Now rare in Eng. Fif. 1713 Two Students (Dickinson 1952) 25:
They told me there was a very great odds, and that their Mother would take it very ill if they were not more nicely treated and looked after here than at home.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journal (M.C.) 155:
To see the odds of elergymen in one country from another.
Sc. 1769 Boswell In search of a Wife (Pottle 1957) 221:
What an odds to read of a brave regiment . . . from what it is to dine or sup with the officers.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail viii.:
I ken nae odds o' her this many a year.
Per. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (16 Sept.):
Before firing he cried to panels to stop, but they did not; knew no odds of their running after he fired his gun.
Dmf. 1835 Carlyle Letters (Norton 1888) II. 307:
Forty years makes a great odds of a girl.
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf lvi.:
I kent an odds on Cosmo my own self, though I had been but a month away.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 205:
To teach a wheen nowts, the bairns o' nowts, — you didna mak' much o' them, Mr Raeburn, but they made great odds on you.
Lnk. 1912 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 84:
We'll see an odds the morn.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (24 July) 2:
Dist mak' ony odds?
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 63:
He's gettin' frailer ilka day, I've seen an odds on him o' late.

Phrs.: (1) odds and or or evens, the game of chance “odd and even”, gen. played by children or young people, in which a number of small articles are held in the closed hand, and the one whose turn it is to guess chooses by saying “odds” or “evens” (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 221; Per., Uls. 1964); (2) to gar odds and evens meet, to draw conclusions, make inferences, to put two and two together. (1) Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 93:
Ye who have often played with Will At odds and evens for a gill.
(2) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xliv.:
The deil's in you, Monkbarns, for garring odds and evens meet — wha thought ye wad hae laid that and that thegither!

2. A small surplus sum or number (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Kcb., Uls. 1964), in addition to one already specified. In Eng. mainly in sing. and without the conj. and. Sc. 1835 T. T. Stoddart Sc. Angler 120:
A friend of ours . . . captured in the space of six or seven hours, no less than fourteen score [trout] some odds.
Sc. 1923 D. Wilson Carlyle till Marriage 361:
A six-horse train . . . with . . . number 200,000 and odds upon it.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
Three pounds and odds.

Phrs.: (1) ony odds, gen. with compar.: somewhat, just a fraction, slightly; (2) (the) odds of, over, more than (Sh., ne.Sc., Uls. 1964). (1) Ags. 1890 A. N. Simpson Muirside Memories 33:
The Dyker's [cock] winded mine, if ony odds.
Abd. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 8:
A wheen scatter't, sklatet biggin's . . . aiblins gar the wee toonockie yeuk ony odds mair ragglish an' less eeniform.
(2) Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 95:
I'm now arrived at odds o' fifty.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 22:
I gather't odds o' fifty kibble birks.
Uls. 1908 Traynor (1953):
There was the odds of forty head of cattle on the land.

3. Golf: a stroke more than one's opponent has played or conceded in a handicap match. Fif. 1807 J. Grierson St. Andrews 235:
A plays off, and then B. A's ball lies farthest behind, and, therefore, by the rules of the game, he is obliged to play again. This is called playing one more, or the odds.
Sc. 1887 R. Chambers Golfing 94:
Odds, first, means the handicap given by a strong player to a weaker in a single match, consisting of either one, two, three, or more holes to start with, or one stroke per hole, or every alternate hole, or at every third hole, etc.; second, to have played “the odds” is to have played one stroke more than your adversary.

II. v. To affect, make a difference in. Cai. c.1920:
He's always 'e same, naething oddses him.

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"Odds n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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