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"Dollars to donuts"

Posted by ESC on June 24, 2006

In Reply to: "Dollars to donuts" posted by Bob on June 24, 2006

: : "Dollars to donuts" was used in Rodgers and Hammerstein's play "State Fair", which I believe was written before 1945

: I can't find what other date you're referring to (in our Archives, perhaps?) but "State Fair" did debut in 1945.

Hey Bob. It was in the archives:

DOLLARS TO DOUGHNUTS (or donuts) - "The almost forgotten terms 'dollars-to-buttons' and 'dollars-to-dumplings' appeared in the 1880s, meaning 'almost certain' and usually used in 'I'll bet you dollars-to-buttons/dumplings.' They were replaced by 1890 with the more popular 'dollars-to-doughnuts' (a 1904 variation, 'dollars-to-cobwebs,' never became very common, perhaps because it didn't alliterate)." From Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).

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