I don't know the meaning of the phrase in this sentence

We are seldom exposed only to a single contaminant in the environment-but more often than not to a cocktail of chemical mixture.

How to understand 'more often than not'?

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    Multiple chemical exposure happens more times than single chemical exposure. – deadrat Apr 28 '16 at 5:30
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    The sentence is asserting that exposures to multiple chemicals at a time occur more frequently than exposures to single chemicals. – Richard Kayser Oct 26 '16 at 4:14
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    More often than not is a fixed phrase, an idiom. It just means 'often'. That's all. – John Lawler Feb 18 '18 at 20:53

I would think of this phrase by rephrasing and making it a sentence like, "There are more often times when we are exposed to a cocktail of chemical mixture than the times when we are not exposed to one. More often than not=as often as not=usually. Hope this helps...


"More often than not" describes a degree of probability which is greater than 50%.

  • As Richard Kayser has already said. // It probably does describe an observed relative frequency, which would be used to work out the empirical probability. Or it may even be a loose expression not meaning anything more specific than 'often'. All this has already been said. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 21 '18 at 0:58

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