D Is For Doughnuts, Darn It

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.37.51 AMI’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts

… is a saying dating from 1904.  It means you are so confident about what you know that you’re willing to bet on it.  That is, a dollar has more value than a doughnut, so you are willing to give long odds, knowing that you’re going to win.

On the surface this saying has nothing to do with doughnuts, per se.  In fact, some 1880s versions of this saying were “dollars to buttons” or “dollars to dumplings.” 

There was even a “dollars to cobwebs” version of this saying.  Shocking that it didn’t catch on, eh?

But being of a contrary mind, I have to wonder if the fact that doughnuts look like little zeros contributed to the popularity, and subsequent staying power, of this particular version of the saying.

I mean think about it, once in a while who doesn’t like to talk about doughnuts [or donuts, if you lean toward the more modern spelling]?

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 { SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR FUN }

“Time to make the donuts.”

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

46 thoughts on “D Is For Doughnuts, Darn It”

    1. Kate, ain’t that the truth? Used to be that local bakeries made doughnuts, but now they don’t. Leaving me to buy [ever so rarely] doughnuts at the grocery or Dunkin Donuts. Just not the same.

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  1. “Time to make the doughnuts!” I’d forgotten about that commercial. I always thought I would never want that kind of job since I hate getting up early. I remember my grandparents using that phrase of dollars to doughnuts. Haven’t heard it in a very long time.

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    1. Beth, I remember adults saying this phrase when I was kid, too. I use it once in a great while. I agree about NEVER wanting to make the doughnuts, much too early of an hour for me.

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  2. While I’ve never heard anyone use the phrase “Dollars to Doughnuts”, I did hear a lot of people use “Time to make the doughnuts” during the time of that commercial whenever they had to do something unpleasant! I remember especially hearing it in the teachers’ lounge every time the bell would ring and we’d have to go back and face our classes. Someone would heft him/herself up, glance ruefully out the doorway at the teeming masses in the hallway, and sigh, “Well, time to make the doughnuts!”

    Funny how some ads have catchphrases that really stick.

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    1. nance, I grew up hearing this adults use this phrase to so I think it’s programmed in me. I’d forgotten about people saying “time to make the donuts” to mean going to work. But they did. You’re right.

      [Spoiler: A letter later on is going to touch on the catchphrase phenomenon of TV commercials.]

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    1. Carrie, I felt the same way as I wrote this post. I’m not even much of a doughnut lover, but somehow talking about them is enough to make me want one.

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  3. Dollars to doughnuts… I mean, I had an understanding of what it meant but I never gave it real thought. Dollars to buttons (or cobwebs) just isn’t the same. Speaking of Dunkin – whatever happened to THE Dunkin doughnut? The big classic doughnut with the handle?

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    1. Zazamataz, I wondered about the dollars to cobwebs saying, too. Makes even less sense than most older sayings. I don’t know anything about THE Dunkin Donut. It was a thing?

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  4. We had the best donut place here ~> Buddha Belly Donuts, with donuts the size of small footballs. Due to an illness in the family, the business closed. Bummer for them. Bummer for us.

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    1. nrhatch, that’s a great name for a donut shop! There are no more locally owned doughnut places around us. I think that kind of speciality bakery may be a remnant of a different era. So sorry to read that yours is gone.

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    1. Sarah, I heard this saying all the time growing up, so when I started this challenge it seemed like a perfect time to find out more. Plus, researching anything that has to do with donuts isn’t a bad thing!

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  5. I remember David Letterman used to always joke about the resemblance between the Dunkin Donuts guy and Saddam Hussein. It was sketchy, but Letterman could make it funny in a Top 10 list…

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    1. bitsfromheaven, so far everyone who has commented here is on board with talking about donuts. Funny how that works, isn’t it? We don’t have Krispy Kremes anymore, but I remember how good they were [are]. *sigh*

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  6. I like Winchells donoughts, though they may be a West Coast thing. Our local one closed, but the small donought shop that went in after them uses the same recipes, so they taste the same. We’re getting our first Dunkin Donuts soon. I haven’t tried Dunkin Donuts since we lived in Philadelphia 20 years ago. I’m thinking a taste test may be in order, and maybe I should throw a locally owned place in there as well, to make it interesting.

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    1. J, I’ve never heard of Winchells so I suspect you’re right about it being West Coast. Years ago we lived in a small town that had a local doughnut shop that was THE place to be on Saturday morning. It was so fun to be there, dawdle over coffee & talk with people. However, that kind of cozy atmosphere in any bakery is long gone. I’ll be interested in knowing what you think of Dunkin Donuts. They just got to this area maybe 5 years ago… right when Krispy Kreme left town.

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