Even-Steven and Even-Stevens

Photo of author


Even-steven is a term which means not being owed anything and not owing anything, a fair distribution of resources, a mutually beneficial trade or an even match or tied score in an athletic contest. Even-steven may be used as an adjective or an adverb. The British and Australian term is even-stevens. Even-steven has been around since at least the mid-nineteenth century. One theory of the origin of even-steven and even-stevens is a line in Journal to Stella by Jonathan Swift: “‘Now we are even,’ quote Steven, when he gave his wife six blows to one.” Another theory of the origin of even-steven is that steven or stephen was a British slang term for money, according to A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English by John Stephen Farmer and William Ernest Henley. Thus, when two people are even-steven, their financial contributions are equal. Even-steven and even-stevens are most often hyphenated, steven and stevens are never capitalized.


The Bulls played even-steven with Kentucky in the second half, shooting 60 percent from the field, double their first half success rate. (The Miami Herald)

We expected an even-steven match-up between the UST Growling Tigers and the FEU Tamaraws. (The Manila Times)

“The reality is it’s going to be a tough, even-steven kind of race, and there’s that moment when a lot of party establishment would start exactly this kind of rumble: ‘Is there anybody else?’ ” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist. (The New York Times)

I run into bad luck. But I run into good luck too, so it’s even-steven right now.” (The Rolling Stone Magazine)

The opening ten minutes were fairly even stevens, with neither side looking particularly threatening. (The Dover Express)

Delhi, who have not lost in the two matches they have played at home this season, were beaten by Mumbai in the first leg and Carlos’ boys would want to make it even-stevens. (The Free Press Journal)