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bet / bet/ • v. (bet·ting ; past bet or bet·ted ) 1. [intr.] risk something, usually a sum of money, against someone else's on the basis of the outcome of a future event, such as the result of a race or game: betting on horses I would be prepared to bet that what he really wanted was to settle down [tr.] most people would bet their life savings on this prospect. ∎  [tr.] risk a sum of money against (someone) on the outcome or happening of a future event: I'll bet you $15 you won't find a single scratch. 2. inf. feel sure: I bet this place is really spooky late at night he'll be surprised to see me, I'll bet. • n. an act of risking a sum of money in this way: every Saturday she had a bet on the horses. ∎  a sum of money staked in this way: the bookies are taking bets on his possible successor. ∎  inf. a candidate or course of action to choose; an option: your best bet is to call a professional exterminator. ∎  (one's bet) inf. an opinion, typically one formed quickly or spontaneously: my bet is that the president will veto the bill. PHRASES: all bets are off inf. the outcome of a situation is unpredictable. don't (or I wouldn't) bet on it inf. used to express doubt about an assertion or situation: he may be a suitable companion—but don't bet on it. want to (or wanna) bet? inf. used to express vigorous disagreement with a confident assertion: “You can't be with me every moment.” “Want to bet?” you bet inf. you may be sure; certainly: “Would you like this piece of pie?” “You bet!”

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BET

BET (Heb. ב; בֵּית), second letter of the Hebrew alphabet: a voiced bilabial plosive [b] and voiced labiodental fricative [v] (a positional variant); its numerical value is 2.

The earliest form of bet – in the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions – is the acrophonic pictograph of a house (bayit) While in South Arabic its shape is and in Ethiopic , in the Proto-Canaanite script the main stages of development are → → → . Variants of the latter form survive in the Phoenician (, ), Hebrew (,), and Samaritan () as well as in the Greek ( →) and Latin scripts.

The Aramaic bet like the dalet, resh, and ʿayin has an open top already in the seventh century b.c.e. While in the fifth century b.c.e. the downstroke has a diagonal flourish , from the fourth century b.c.e. onward the downstroke is vertical curving into a horizontal base; at the same time there is a tendency to straighten the top of the letter: . In the early Jewish script the tick on the left side of the top is the only remnant of the half-circled head. Already in the Herodian period, the base of the Jewish bet is written occasionally with a separate left-to-right stroke . This fashion prevails, becomes common in the Jewish bookhand, and the bet does not change its basic shape during the ages: In some cursive trends, as in the period of Bar Kokhba and today, the bet is written without lifting the pen: . However, the Ashkenazi cursive developed as follows: → → → .

Palmyrene bet follows the third-century b.c.e. Aramaic and develops through into Syriac . The Nabatean bet loses its top ; this form is adopted for Arabic ba, which later is distinguished by a diacritic sign from (ta), (nun), and (ya). See *Alphabet, Hebrew.

[Joseph Naveh]

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bet (lay) a wager. XVI. The sb. and vb. appear in the last decade of XVI, and it is uncertain which is prior; perh. aphetic of ABET (†sb.) ‘instigation, support (of a cause)’, the vb. being then derived from the sb.