heads or tails


Also found in: Dictionary.

Heads or tails?

Which side of the coin do you want to represent your side when it lands? Said when throwing a coin into the air, with the outcome of something dependent on which side of the coin lands face-up. OK, whoever wins this coin toss has to go out and get the groceries. Heads or tails?
See also: Head

heads or tails

the face of a coin or the other side of a coin. (Often used in an act of coin tossing, where one circumstance is valid if the front of a coin appears and another circumstance is valid if the other side appears.) Jim looked at Jane as he flipped the coin into the air. "Heads or tails?" he asked. It doesn't matter whether the result of the toss is heads or tails. I won't like the outcome in any case.
See also: head, tail

heads or tails

An expression used when tossing a coin to decide between two alternatives, as in Let's just flip a coin to decide who pays-do you want heads or tails? Each person involved chooses a different side of the coin, either "heads" or "tails," and whichever side lands facing up is considered the winner. This usage, dating from the late 1600s, is sometimes turned into Heads I win, tails you lose, meaning "I win no matter what," which probably originated in an attempt to deceive someone. [Mid-1800s]
See also: head, tail
References in periodicals archive ?
The unknown outcomes are again whether the coin will come up heads or tails. But now the odds are not 50:50 heads vs.
So when it comes to tossing a coin, for or against, when the political penny is flipped and the call is given for heads or tails, I would hope that those engaged in this debate will call for both.
This game has two players, A and B; each simultaneously chooses Heads or Tails. If both choose Heads or if both choose Tails, A wins $1 from B; otherwise, B wins $1 from A.
An ordinary penny comes up either heads or tails. A quantum penny has the additional property that it can be put into a state that mixes both heads and tails.
How to do it: Place the coins on a table with a random number of either heads or tails showing.