This is from Collins Dictionary.

9 to be in a (specified) condition, relation, or circumstance (used with a phrase, infinitive, or adverb) ⇒ "they stood in awe, he stands to lose ten dollars"

Does "he stands to lose ten dollars" mean that he will lose ten dollars implying he's bet $10 on something? If so, is there any special reason to say that using 'stand'?

3 Answers 3


There's no "special reason", other than that's the way the phrase can be used.

Incidentally, you can stand to lose things other than money:

Mr Forrest stands to lose his right to serve as a company director.

Now he stands to lose his right arm, affected by suspected gangrene

The phrase stands to lose simply means that a loss is imminent. Similarly, stands to win (or stands to gain) means that there is potential for some benefit, usually in the near future:

Proview Technology, which currently uses the iPad name on several of its products such as computer monitors, stands to win $1.6 billion and an apology from Apple, the creator of the iPad tablet, for allegedly infringing upon Proview's trademarked name.

This benefit need not be monetary:

With little standing between him and electoral triumph in November, he also stands to win an unprecedented fourth term this year.

The phrase is sometimes used in headlines, too, where the exact nature of the potential loss or gain is left unstated:

How Facebook stands to gain by sharing its trade secrets

Ukraine cabinet resignation resolution stands to win enough votes

Climate change: who stands to win and who to lose?

Sometimes the exact nature of the win/loss can be determined by reading the article; other times, a term like "stands to win big" is used simply as a way to say "will likely benefit greatly."


As stated in the definition, it means to be in a specified circumstance; in this case, he is in the circumstance of probably losing ten dollars. The use of stand here means that the loss of money has not occurred yet and is not assured, but is likely to happen, and soon.

It's quite possible that he placed a $10 bet on something, but this is not necessarily the reason. For any case where someone is likely to lose ten dollars in the near future it's appropriate to say they stand to lose ten dollars.


In its fuller form, it could be said that "he stands the chance of losing ten dollars." In most cases it would be assumed that it's the result of a bet that he placed, unless there was contextual information indicating otherwise.

  • 1
    I disagree that "in most cases" it would be the result of a losing bet. I looked up "stands to lose some money" in a Google search, and only one of the first 40 hits had anything to do with gambling.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 7:33
  • I said that lacking any other context, that tends to be the standing assumption. If the preceding sentences indicate someone, say, loaned $10 to someone who might not pay it back then clearly that's not a matter of gambling, but it was also clarified.
    – Kaji
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 7:45
  • Yes, but you also said, "It most cases it would be assumed..." Lacking any further context, I don't think it would be my initial assumption, nor should it be an initial assumption. There are plenty of ways to stand to lose money besides lost bets. Your wording makes it sound like you're saying, "It could be used for other things, but generally it's used when someone has lost a bet."
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 8:09

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