You may have heard the following expression:
May the odds be ever in your favor.
This is a catchphrase that comes from a series of books (and movies) called The Hunger Games.
(catchphrase = a well-known sentence or phrase, typically one that is associated with a particular famous person.)
To understand the meaning of this phrase, we need to divide it into parts.
MAY is a modal verb. In this case May is used to express a wish or desire. (Read more about the modal verbs May and Might)
The verb that comes after a modal verb is in the base form of the infinitive (without the “To“).
It may be… (not It may
to be…) You may want to check out the difference between May be and Maybe.
But in this case we the thing we wish for the person between the modal verb May and the base Verb.
May + thing we wish for + Base form of the infinitive + direction of the wish (who is it for?)
In this expression the “thing we wish for” are “the odds” or chances of winning (see below).
The odds means the chances or likelihood of something happening or of being the case.
- The odds of a winning the lottery are one in a million. (= the chances/likelihood of winning)
Ever is an adverb that means always.
An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies an adjective or a verb. In this case it modifies (or gives more information about) the verb To Be. Adverbs express a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, and in this case the frequency of May be.
So they don’t just wish you good luck (or good fortune) that one time but they wish you ALWAYS have good luck (or to be lucky).
Note: There are two ways of spelling this word. Favor is used in American English and Favour in British English.
When something is in your favor, it means to be to your advantage.
When the odds are in your favor, it means that chances of winning are to your advantage and you are more likely to win.
May the odds be ever in your favor means “I wish/hope that you have the best chances of winning, not just now, but always.”