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even stevens vs. even steven

Posted by Pamela on May 30, 2006

The taxi driver explained the origin of the phrase "even stevens" to me tonight (an unstoppable and very famous Australian horse was called "Even Stevens" and in a major race the odds offered were even and so on). I said I thought it was an American phrase and he said that, nope, they got it from us only they got it wrong and that Americans say "even Steven" instead of "even Stevens". Yes, people from Australia do say "It's even Stevens", yet a googlefight puts the singular "even Steven" ahead by about 53,000,000 worldwide. Is the singular use commonly preferred in the US (and what about Britain)? By the way, the horse story is true, but there's no evidence I can find that the horse's name was the origin of the phrase rather than the other way around (the horse won the Melbourne cup in 1962). Pamela