I heard of the expression 'a hundred to one'. and I am perplexed. because I heard of that the expression has both positive and negative meaning at the same time.

I can't understand it. And moreover, as for its positive meaning I don't accept that one of hundred(1/100) has the meaning of 'certain, probable'. In my mother tongue, eight or nine of ten(80/100 or 90/100) means 'nearly certain'.

It has not worked out in my brain without somebody's help. so please help me.


The expression "a hundred to one", often written as 100:1, refers to an expression of odds. Odds of 100:1 means that one event is 100 times more likely than another. This expression can mean the opposite with the simple modifier "against":

  • The odds against X are 100:1 ...
  • The odds of X are 100:1 against...

In conversation, the negative connotation may be implied through inflection or some other means.

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