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[sweep-steyks] /ˈswipˌsteɪks/
noun, (used with a singular or plural verb)
a race or other contest for which the prize consists of the stakes contributed by the various competitors.
the prize itself.
a lottery in which winning tickets are selected at random, each winning-ticket number then being matched to one of the horses nominated for or entered in a specific race, and the amounts paid the winners being determined by the finishing order of the horses that run.
lottery (def 2).
any gambling transaction in which each of a number of persons contributes a stake, and the stakes are awarded to one or several winners.
a risky venture that promises large rewards:
the high-tech sweepstakes.
Origin of sweepstakes
1485-95; earlier swepestake orig., a person who won all the stakes in a game; see sweep1, stake2, -s3


[sweep-steyk] /ˈswipˌsteɪk/
a sweepstakes. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sweepstakes
  • There has hardly been any good news in the global climate sweepstakes for the last decade.
  • But hurdles are opportunities for the enterprising and the race is on to win the renewable energy sweepstakes.
  • And in the natural-name arena the one product that could probably win the sweepstakes without even trying is natural gas.
  • After all, diesel is not traditionally thought of as a winner in the clean exhaust sweepstakes, nor is it known for speeds.
  • Viewers can enter sweepstakes, find nearby shops and play branded games.
  • How to protect yourself against sweepstakes scams.
  • In this scam, the con criminal makes you think you have won a great prize or sweepstakes.
  • Remember these tips the next time you get a telephone call or letter telling you you've won a prize, award, or sweepstakes.
  • Warns consumers that sweepstakes scammers may be impersonating government officials.
  • Be wary of anything that promises large sums of money, such as sweepstakes or lottery winnings, in exchange for advance payment.
British Dictionary definitions for sweepstakes


  1. a lottery in which the stakes of the participants constitute the prize
  2. the prize itself
any event involving a lottery, esp a horse race in which the prize is the competitors' stakes
Often shortened to sweep
Word Origin
C15: originally referring to someone who sweeps or takes all the stakes in a game
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sweepstakes

"prize won in a race or contest," 1773, from Middle English swepestake "one who sweeps or wins all the stakes in a game" (late 15c., as the name of one of the King's ships), from swepen "sweep" (see sweep (v.)) + stake (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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