What does the idiom "against all odds" mean?

The phrase against all odds is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of against all odds.

Meaning of "against all odds"


The phrase "against all odds" is used to describe a situation where success is still achieved despite overwhelming obstacles. It can refer to a single actor facing difficult challenges or to an entire team or organization. In either case, the phrase implies that the objective has been accomplished despite a much tougher than expected situation. The phrase is often used in situations where the odds would seem to be insurmountable.


The phrase “against all odds” has its origins in gambling. It was originally used to describe a situation in which a gambler won a large sum of money despite the facts that all the odds were against them. Over time, the phrase acquired new meanings as it was applied to more general situations, often describing a situation where success is achieved in the face of difficult challenges.


The phrase “against all odds” is often used to describe a situation where a great deal of hard work and persistence has enabled someone to achieve a goal that would have seemed unlikely or impossible. It can be used to describe individuals, teams, or organizations. Often, it is used to motivate people to continue striving in the face of adversity. The phrase can also be used in a humorous manner, to describe a situation where luck—not skill or hard work—have been the deciding factor.

Example Sentences

  • He was able to get into medical school against all odds.
  • The team was able to win the championship despite being severely outmatched and facing long odds.
  • The rescuers were able to find the missing hiker against all odds.
  • She was able to finish the marathon against all odds.
  • He was able to get the promotion against all odds.
  • She was able to land her dream job against all odds.

The meanings of the words in the "against all odds" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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