Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A contest in which tokens are distributed or sold, the winning token or tokens being secretly predetermined or ultimately selected in a random drawing.
  • n. A selection made by lot from a number of applicants or competitors: The state uses a lottery to assign spaces in the campground.
  • n. An activity or event regarded as having an outcome depending on fate: They considered combat duty a lottery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A scheme for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance, especially a gaming scheme in which one or more tickets bearing particular numbers draw prizes, the other tickets are blanks.
  • n. An affair of chance.
  • n. Allotment; a thing allotted.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A scheme for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance; esp., a gaming scheme in which one or more tickets bearing particular numbers draw prizes, and the rest of the tickets are blanks.
  • n. Allotment; thing allotted.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Distribution of anything by lot; allotment; also, the drawing of lots; determination by chance or fate; random choice; matter of chance: as, the lottery of life.
  • n. A scheme for raising money by selling chances to share in a distribution of prizes; more specifically, a scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance among persons purchasing tickets, the correspondingly numbered slips, or lots, representing prizes or blanks, being drawn from a wheel on a day previously announced in connection with the scheme of intended prizes.
  • n. The lot or portion falling to one's share; a chance allotment or prize.
  • n. A children's picture or print.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. players buy (or are given) chances and prizes are distributed by casting lots
  • n. something that is regarded as a chance event

Etymologies

French loterie, probably from Dutch loterije, from Middle Dutch, from lot, lot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
from Italian lotteria, from the same root as Old English hlot (cognate with lot) (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • *facepalm*

    January 11, 2008

  • Buy your lottery tickets on a Friday! If you buy your ticket earlier than Friday, your chance of winning the lottery the following Saturday is lower than your chance of being run over by a car before you're able to claim your prize! The chance of winning the California lottery in any given week is roughly 1 in 18,000,000 and the chance of being run over by a car in that state during a 24-hour period is roughly the same.

    --Why Do Buses Come in Threes? by Eastaway and Wyndham

    January 11, 2008