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[lot-uh-ree] /ˈlɒt ə ri/
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.
Origin of lottery
1560-70; < Middle Dutch loterie (whence also French loterie). See lot, -ery
Related forms
antilottery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lottery
  • The world is a lottery wherein one must expect to meet with many unlucky chances.
  • Policy is a kind of penny lottery, with alleged daily drawings which never take place.
  • There are other possible payoffs in the marine toxin lottery.
  • The state has used lottery money to help preserve its habitat.
  • His comrades congratulated him as if he'd won the lottery.
  • Some people dream of winning the lottery, others dream of that shiny new car.
  • Because the state didn't have enough money to cover everyone who applied, they used a lottery.
  • Years later she wins a lottery and spends all the money to make a memorable feast for the sisters who have sheltered her.
  • Every ten minutes or so, coins would be distributed through a process that resembled a lottery.
  • Or they'll put their motorcycle, or a winning lottery ticket-there are a lot of winning lottery tickets.
British Dictionary definitions for lottery


noun (pl) -teries
a method of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving a proportion of the money raised to holders of numbers drawn at random
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
an activity or endeavour the success of which is regarded as a matter of fate or luck
Word Origin
C16: from Old French loterie, from Middle Dutch loterije. See lot
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 lottery

1560s, "arrangement for a distribution of prizes by chance," from Italian lotteria, from lotto "lot, portion, share," from same root as Old English hlot (see lot). Cf. Middle French loterie, from Middle Dutch loterje, from lot (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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