Definition of lottery in English:



  • 1A means of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving prizes to the holders of numbers drawn at random.

    • ‘The Club is now selling annual membership to its weekly lottery.’
    • ‘I played the lottery when it started, but I don't any more.’
    • ‘The truth is, I've never bought a state lottery ticket in my life.’
    • ‘All the Eastern States now are running lotteries to raise money in place of taxes.’
    • ‘Thus, under federal law, as it is now written, Internet casinos and lotteries are legal.’
    • ‘The evening news was interrupted by the weekly lottery drawing.’
    • ‘The odds of winning the jackpot on the national lottery are one in nearly 14m.’
    • ‘Betting on horse racing, lotteries and raffles have long been a recognised way of gambling in New Zealand.’
    • ‘The gambling empire rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars each year from sweepstakes, lotteries and of late, poker machines.’
    • ‘Events were held around the country at sites that have benefited from lottery cash.’
    • ‘The newly launched state lottery was being subsidised by the government, who had got their sums wrong.’
    • ‘Widespread participation in lotteries and casino gambling reveals how poorly the public understands the laws of probability.’
    • ‘The availability of lotteries and casino gambling, as well as gaming machines, has expanded dramatically worldwide.’
    • ‘The new law also includes plans to ensure that there is a clear distinction between lotteries and prize competitions.’
    • ‘However, instant lotteries, wayside roulettes and raffles continue to lure citizens looking for quick and easy money.’
    • ‘Many state lotteries, particularly in Europe, are selling tickets online, and more will join.’
    • ‘Gambling has always been a big business and as more states adopt lotteries and permit casino gambling it gets even bigger every year.’
    • ‘However, critics note these same states run equally addictive national lotteries and accuse them of hypocrisy.’
    • ‘In some countries that hold state lotteries, tickets with number 13 will never be sold.’
    • ‘Probably the worst return for your money comes from the lotteries.’
    raffle, sweepstake, sweep, bingo, lotto, tombola, drawing of lots, pools
    gamble, speculation, game of chance, competition
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    1. 1.1[in singular]A process or thing whose success or outcome is governed by chance.
      ‘the lottery of life’
      • ‘Ryan had hit genetic lottery on both sides.’
      • ‘It has much to do with the lottery of life and its unforgiving nature - about fate, synchronicity, and whether what was, was supposed to be; of hopes realized and dashed, and possibly about self-delusion and being generally perplexed.’
      • ‘Student music can often seem like a bit of a gamble, if not a complete lottery, as far as an evening out is concerned.’
      • ‘And I think most people will be quite happy with the normal genetic lottery.’
      • ‘This inconsistency is infuriating clubs and leaving them feeling that the whole process is something of a lottery.’
      • ‘After that, it is a complete and utter lottery, but Spurs are a good cup team, and definitely worth a pound or two.’
      • ‘After all success with Atlantic Salmon is still the biggest lottery in fishing.’
      • ‘His very poor punch resistance offsets his physical gifts, which makes every trip into the ring against top level opposition something of a lottery.’
      • ‘He's like some super model who hit the genetic lottery.’
      risk, gamble, hazard, venture, speculation, long shot, leap in the dark, pig in a poke, pot luck
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Mid 16th century: probably from Dutch loterij, from lot lot.