# 'on a hiding to nothing' and 'dollars to doughnuts' and '6 to 1'

Hi,

I understand that in meaning “on a hiding to nothing” = “dollars to doughnuts” = “6 to 1” but I have no idea about their origins. Could anyone tell me why they all mean the defeat is without question?

Thank you!

Haihao

.
I only know ‘dollars to doughnuts’, and presume that it is based only on the incongruous comparison of two words that alliterate.
For ‘6 to 1’, do you mean ‘Six of one to half a dozen of the other’?
.

Hi Mister Micawber,

Thank you for your explanation and I am sorry for the confusing expression. As you said, ‘6 to 1’ = ‘Six of one to half a dozen of the other’ and all the three contain ‘to’ which is of a similar usage to them.

Haihao

.
Hello Haihao,

Actually, I found the expressions so confusing that I did not answer your basic question at all. They do not all mean the same, but are all different in purport:

dollars to doughnuts = certainly. Dollars to doughnuts, Mr Obama will win his party nomination.

Six of one to half a dozen of the other = both choices are effectively the same; there is no significant difference. Should I go to Harvard or Yale? – They’re both good, prestigious and expensive; it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

on a hiding to nothing = To be faced with a situation which is pointless, as a successful outcome is impossible. I am not familiar with this one-- but I found out from whence you formulated your question, which is at that link (‘The ‘to’ in the phrase indicates alternative outcomes, as in terms like ‘6 to 1’ or ‘dollars to doughnuts’.’). ‘6 to 1’ there appears to simply be heavy odds.
.
.

Now everything is made as clear as a bell. Sorry for the confusions I made from my rough reading of the link you found out. Thanks again, MM.

HH