"You bet you"? That's the closest I could think of. Or is it "you bet yourself", with the "self" omitted so it's quicker to say? Or is it something else altogether?

  • A classic "Nordie" phrase, characteristic (in a cartoon sense) of the Scandinavian folks of the US Upper Midwest. "You bet your life" is an old saying (and was once the name of a TV quiz show), and I've always assumed it's derived from that or one of it's less presentable clones. – Hot Licks May 21 '17 at 18:33

I find this undocumented but fairly compelling:

You betcha-- Contraction of "you bet your...." (life, ass, money, etc.). Also "you betcher", as in You betcha! or You betcher ass!

(from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=You%20Betcha)

  • Oh, spent too long reading the google results... :) – buildsucceeded Jul 11 '11 at 12:08
  • "you bet your..." is certainly short for "you can bet your..." – tenfour Jul 11 '11 at 12:20

"You can bet your life on it."

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    Or any of "you can bet your _____" variations. A very common one is "You can bet your bottom dollar". – tenfour Jul 11 '11 at 12:07

This saying is hugely popular in Australia, where practically no-one speaks German or Nordic languages. We Aussies shorten everything, so "you betcha" is short (for us at least) for "you bet your life", and has been around for at least 50 years.


A lot of people in Minnesota and the Dakotas (where they also say this frequently) are of German or Norwegian background. My theory is that it might have come from one of those languages. Perhaps in the German or Norwegian languages there is comparable saying, and "you betcha" is how people have translated it into English.

  • 3
    -1. No, there are not. Norwegian has similar constructions to “you can bet [something] on that”, but there is no reason whatsoever to assume that a shortened version, “you betcha”, is derived from the Norwegian, rather than from the English phrase. The standard German phrase used to indicate the same kind of certainty is, as far as I know, “you can drink poison on that”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 21 '13 at 12:47

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