heads or tails








noun

  1. a gambling game in which a coin is tossed, the winner being the player who guesses which side of the coin will face up when it lands or is caught.
  2. the tossing of a coin in this manner to determine a question or choice.

An expression used when tossing a coin to decide between two alternatives, as in Let’s just flip a coin to decide who pays—do you want heads or tails? Each person involved chooses a different side of the coin, either “heads” or “tails,” and whichever side lands facing up is considered the winner. This usage, dating from the late 1600s, is sometimes turned into Heads I win, tails you lose, meaning “I win no matter what,” which probably originated in an attempt to deceive someone. [Mid-1800s]

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