Definition of lottery in English:


Line breaks: lot|tery
Pronunciation: /ˈlɒt(ə)ri

noun (plural lotteries)

  • 1A means of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving prizes to the holders of numbers drawn at random: the introduction of a national lottery [as modifier]: lottery tickets
    More example sentences
    • In some countries that hold state lotteries, tickets with number 13 will never be sold.
    • All the Eastern States now are running lotteries to raise money in place of taxes.
    • Many state lotteries, particularly in Europe, are selling tickets online, and more will join.
    raffle, (prize) draw, sweepstake, sweep, bingo, lotto, tombola, drawing of lots, pools; gamble, speculation, game of chance, competition
  • 1.1 [in singular] A situation whose success or outcome is governed by chance: you can appeal, but the procedure is something of a lottery
    More example sentences
    • Student music can often seem like a bit of a gamble, if not a complete lottery, as far as an evening out is concerned.
    • After all success with Atlantic Salmon is still the biggest lottery in fishing.
    • After that, it is a complete and utter lottery, but Spurs are a good cup team, and definitely worth a pound or two.


mid 16th century: probably from Dutch loterij, from lot 'lot'.

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