a coin flip

a coin flip

1. Literally, the act of throwing a coin into the air, with the outcome of something dependent on which side of the coin lands face-up. We figured the fairest way was to do a coin flip to see who should keep Dad's old stamp collection.
2. By extension, a situation in which two outcomes, usually opposites, are equally likely and will be decided by chance. At this point, it's really just a coin flip whether we'll be able to recoup our costs from this project or not.
See also: coin, flip
References in periodicals archive ?
Hugh-Jones uses the well-known coin flip experiment, where subjects report the result of a coin flip and are offered money for reporting "heads," and a new experimental paradigm: an online quiz in which subjects were able to cheat in a way that the researchers could detect.
People felt more strongly that they should give the money when a reward depended on the judgment of the other person rather than a coin flip," Dunning said.
Or take my SnG run of late, loss on a coin flip followed by loss on a coin flip, followed by - actually I haven't got the words to waste any more.
There, my standard illustration is a coin flip-quantum events, I often say are random like the result of a coin flip, unpredictable in advance.
And even though there was no record of past discrimination in Piscataway's public schools, the board said race was a factor in keeping the black teacher rather than deciding by, say, a coin flip.