noun, plural lotteries.
a gambling game or method of raising money, as for some public charitable purpose, in which a large number of tickets are sold and a drawing is held for certain prizes.
any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance.
any happening or process that is or appears to be determined by chance: to look upon life as a lottery.

1560–70; < Middle Dutch loterie (whence also French loterie). See lot, -ery

antilottery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lottery (ˈlɒtərɪ)
n , pl -teries
1.  a method of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving a proportion of the money raised to holders of numbers drawn at random
2.  a similar method of raising money in which players select a small group of numbers out of a larger group printed on a ticket. If a player's selection matches some or all of the numbers drawn at random the player wins a proportion of the prize fund
3.  an activity or endeavour the success of which is regarded as a matter of fate or luck
[C16: from Old French loterie, from Middle Dutch loterije. See lot]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1560s, "arrangement for a distribution of prizes by chance," from It. lotteria, from same root as O.E. hlot (see lot).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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