ask-the-marshallWhat is the origin of the phrase, “You bet?”

Bill Beck
Boise, Idaho

“You bet” is a phrase all us Westerners grew up with. It’s regarded as a standard affirmative in the West, derived from the popularity of gambling. “Bet” is self-explanatory. The phrase is also used around the country as a synonym for “you’re welcome.”

“You bet,” a regional phenomenon much like “ehyup,” means “yes” in some parts of New England, “you betcha” for an affirmative or “you’re welcome” in North and South Dakota. “Mm-hmm” is another casual or impersonal response when the more formal “you’re welcome” isn’t needed. “You bet” is an informal way of agreeing with someone, much like a casual nod. In the West, it’s another way of saying, “thanks.”

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at

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