Dollars To Donuts

Meanings of “Dollars To Donuts”

The phrase “dollars to donuts” means certainty or having an assurance about the possibility of something happening.

Origin of “Dollars To Donuts”

The phrase “dollars to donuts” is stated to have appeared first as “dollar to buttons” and even with cobwebs in Boss Book of G. W. Peck way back in 1884.

Later, the newspaper, the Boston Herald, twisted it in 1904The phrase might have originated in the mid 19th century USA. The earliest citation is found in the newspaper The Daily Nevada State Journal, February 1876 which thus goes: “Whenever you hear any resident of a community attempting to decry the local paper… it’s dollars to doughnuts that such a person is either mad at the editor or is owing the office for subscription or advertising.” The phrase was seen in its original words as “dollars to doughnuts” which later transformed into “dollars to donuts.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

State Fair KONTAK

“Our State Fair is a great state fair
Don’t Miss it don’t even be late
(our state fair is great)
It’s dollars to doughnuts at our state fair
It’s the best state fair in the state.”

The singer in these lines has used extended meaning of this phrase excessively, singing one thing but implying another thing, as a state of affair has been used for his private life with a pun on Miss and State Fair. He is sure that their situation is as assured as a dollar to doughnuts which seems a very good metaphor.

Example #2

The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English by Eric Partridge

Dollar to Doughnut: at every high odds, indicating a high degree of certainty

  • Why, I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut my dog’ll point five birds to your dog’s one. – Ken Weaver, Taxas Crude, p. 110, 1984

  • I’m laying dollars to doughnuts we can pass the proposal in the ’47 Special. – James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia, p. 20, 1987.

  • “Dollars to doughnuts he’s at his social club,” Vinnie said.—Janet Evanovic, Seven Up, p. 14, 2001.

This excerpt shows the use of the phrase in literal words, showing its meanings of certainty and usage in different sources. The dictionary has listed three sources from 1984 to 2001, and all three have used the phrase as a denotation as they do not reflect multicity of meanings.

Example #3

Dollar to Donuts by Matt Groening

This is a sequel to the Simpsons that Matt Groening has tried to write. Homer Simpson has been shown as a regular visitor of the Springfield Unemployment Office who becomes a scholar principal and then a chief of a factory from that office. He also has a chance to visit various places and watch different events. The cartoon characters have passed through various other roles during various incidents, which seem to have certainly occurred. Therefore, the phrase has been used as the title of the sequel.

Example #4

Dollars to Donuts by Kathleen Kole

This story presents the character April Patterson who wants to enter the Boxwood Hills to enjoy its mysterious atmosphere. However, once she set foot in these hills, she proves quite wrong when she happens to encounter issues and problems which do not make her believe in them. However, they were certain. The phrase shows its presentation as a metaphorical extension into a story.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “I will bet you dollars to donuts that Kate will not accept Jake’s marriage proposal. She never liked him.”

Example #2: “Dollars to donuts that Kevin will lose the battle to his opponent. What will all those muscles and months of training, that guy is stronger than him.”

Example #3: “Ana bet him dollars to donuts on how Sam will have no strategic plan on how to handle Tom’s rather high-and-mighty speech.”

Example #4: “Dollars to Donuts that Christian will be late for dinner tonight. He loses track of time when it comes to a football match.”

Example #5: “Annoyingly enough, I forgot my umbrella at Diaz’s house. Dollars to Donuts that it will rain tomorrow! It always happens with me.”