from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. selection by drawing lots

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Selection or appointment by lot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The casting of lots; determination by lot.

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

  • n. making a chance decision by using lots (straws or pebbles etc.) that are thrown or drawn


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Our legal tradition does provide, however, about the only mechanism that has ever been found that can avoid the public choice problem: sortition, which is supposed to be used in the selection of trial and grand juries, but which today is too often not used at all for grand juries.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law:

  • He writes: Perhaps the most striking thing about Greek democracy was that the administration (and there were immense administrative problems) was organized upon the basis of what is known as sortition, or, more easily, selection by lot. - Business News

  • There are other things I would favor, such as sortition based election schemes (1), and social policy bonds (2), but this post is already quite long.

    Half Million Rally Against Anti-Foreign Bias, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Like most people working in the field (including Anthony Barnett and the present author) Fishkin thought he had invented this system (known technically as 'sortition') only to discover that the Athenians beat him to it 2,400 years ago.


  • For example, I seldom find much about how juries were established to avoid the public choice problem, and how they, and other varieties of sortition, seem to be the only solutions anyone has found to the problems.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law Now Available:

  • As we have seen, neither election nor appointment avoids the public choice problem, although there is an opportunity to apply the insights of sortition to the selection of judges, by appointing them not to particular courts, but to a general pool of judges, randomly assigned to courts and cases.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law:

  • Official positions may be filled by election, but more commonly are filled by sortition and, most commonly of all, by right of birth.

    Antony and Cleopatra

  • No rotation; no appointment by lot; no mode of election operating in the spirit of sortition, or rotation, can be generally good in a government conversant in extensive objects.

    Paras. 75-99

  • The resignation of Rubrius must be followed by another appeal to sortition.

    A History of Rome During the Later Republic and Early Principate

  • The existing system did not even make it possible to elect a man who would certainly have the conduct of the African war; and if we suppose that in this particular case the division of the consular provinces did not depend on the unadulterated use of the lot, but was settled by agreement or by a mock sortition, [994] the probity rather than the genius of

    A History of Rome During the Later Republic and Early Principate


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  • A method of choosing decision-makers by lottery. This is how Athenian democracy largely worked (with exceptions such as the election of strategoi or generals).

    February 7, 2008