Roll The Dice – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen the phrase ‘roll the dice’ somewhere and would like to know more about what the saying means, or why people say it at all? The phrase ‘roll the dice’ is a common saying in the English language that is used to refer to things of probability.

Meaning

The phrase ‘roll the dice’ is a common saying in the English language that is used as figurative, though rarely can also be a literal phrase in the context of dice games.

When someone has said ‘roll the dice’ then the phrase implies that something is up to chance or probability, rather than an outcome that can be predetermined or influenced.

Most uses of the saying ‘roll the dice’ will be figurative, though the phrase can also be used as a literal term anywhere dice games are played.

Sometimes the figurative use of the term refers to saying the same as ‘flip a coin’ or implying that someone should decide on something.

The phrase can be used as ‘roll the dice’ or alternatively as ‘rolling the dice’, although this would depend on the tense and the context of what is being said.

The phrase is not commonly used in the denial form as it would serve no point, and not render a sensical expression.

Example Usage

“Look, I don’t know what you’re going to think of the next guy you go out on a date with. I’m a tarot reader, not a miracle worker. If you want to know this kind of stuff, just go on Tinder and roll the dice.”

“Roll the dice. Just go out on a date with someone. You can still find real people hanging out at bars and shit, you don’t have to go straight to Tinder.”

“Roll the dice. I don’t mean it figuratively, we’re playing Dungeons & Dragons. Roll the godammned dice.”

“If you don’t want to roll the dice with STDs, don’t go to a club after midnight and end up going home with someone. We live in modern times, but people are still pretty gross if you look at the statistics.”

Origin

According to most language resources, the phrase ‘roll the dice’ is likely to have originated as a common English language saying after the invention and popular use of dice – which has been around for several centuries, though might have only become a common language reference in the 1600s to 1700s.

The phrase ‘roll the dice’ can be common for dice games, but the phrase also has figurative meanings which can refer to probability in any situation.

By the 1800s, the phrase was already in common conversational use and mentioned in most mainstream phrasebooks and dictionaries of the time.

Modern use of the phrase ‘roll the dice’ would continue, with the phrase having both literal and figurative meaning.

Phrases Similar to Roll the Dice

  • Flip a coin

Phrases Opposite to Roll the Dice

  • N/a

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Roll the dice
  • [To] roll the dice
  • Rolling the dice

Ways People May Say Roll the Dice Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can misunderstand or misuse the phrase ‘roll the dice’ in conversation or text.

The phrase ‘roll the dice’ is not said as ‘roll the die’, though both usages are acceptable.

The phrase is not commonly translated as a direct phrase for the figurative meaning, though its literal meaning could neccessitate this.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Roll the Dice

There are several acceptable ways to use the phrase ‘roll the dice’ in conversation or text.

When someone says ‘roll the dice’ the  phrase could refer to probability, but the saying might also refer to the literal action in the context of an RPG or other game.

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