Definition of potluck in US English:



  • 1Used in reference to a situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable.

    ‘he could take potluck in a town not noted for its hotels’
    • ‘He said: ‘You just take pot luck if you get beaten.’’
    • ‘‘We can't just rely on pot luck or someone just arriving on the doorstep,’ he said.’
    • ‘Each one is pre-programmed to have a different temperament, some will be really placid, others will cry all night, it is pot luck.’
    • ‘It means that, when I need someone, they come recommended and I don't have to take pot luck with the Yellow Pages.’
    • ‘It's just a case of pot luck whether you buy it or not.’
    • ‘You take pot luck, but are unlikely to be disappointed.’
    • ‘Presumably, everybody just took pot luck… right?’
    • ‘The only people who know they will be able to get tickets is the 17,000 season ticket holders and then it will be pot luck for everyone else.’
    • ‘Find a game dealer you can trust; all too often with venison it is pot luck, but with new rules on handling and traceability coming soon, things should improve.’
    • ‘Whether you enjoy attentive nurses, a proper diet and clean wards is simply pot luck.’
    • ‘It had been decided to introduce a single queue system, so that customers were seen in order of coming into the bank, rather than taking pot luck in separate queues.’
    • ‘So whatever that has transpired since is mostly pot luck that events that happened around me decided to brew up and guess I have made a reasonably good meal of it.’
    • ‘She said: ‘It's pot luck really, like winning the Lottery.’’
    • ‘Sometimes I let the mp3 player handle this at random so it's pot luck; other times I specify a track that I know will get me all focused.’
    • ‘There is always an element of pot luck with casting, but in this case that was heightened: there were a million Afghan refugees in the area, and we could have picked any two.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I travelled from Castleford and took my pot luck along with everyone else but it makes my blood boil when I see tickets now on sale for up to four times their face value.’’
    • ‘‘I only play Lotto occasionally so I suppose you could say it was pure pot luck that I won,’ he said.’
    • ‘Now the new faceless system which involves much ringing, waiting and a certain amount of pot luck has worried doctors so much they have decided to opt out of the system.’
    • ‘Not knowing which teams will be based where means that supporters have had to take pot luck in the hope of getting to see their national side play.’
    • ‘My hours won't make it feasible to use Park & Ride, so I'm going to have to take pot luck on the streets, but I could have to walk a long way during dark nights to get to my car.’
    risk, gamble, hazard, venture, speculation, long shot, leap in the dark, pig in a poke, lottery, pot luck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish.
      as modifier ‘a potluck supper’
      • ‘Last weekend I was at a pot luck and the host put on Red Hash.’
      • ‘I dreaded the invitation list and the seating chart - why can't wedding receptions be a potluck in the park?’
      • ‘They built halls to serve as language schools and as places for dramas, films, judo lessons, poetry readings, potlucks, and parties.’
      • ‘The exchange and potlucks woo people who want to interact in a neighborly way.’
      • ‘It is a must read for anyone who has ever confronted debates over how to serve communion, participated in church fund raisers, or seen the hand of God at work at a church pot luck.’
      • ‘Ecovillage neighbors gather for Sunday potlucks and spontaneous midweek meals in the courtyard garden or lobby.’
      • ‘You wouldn't want to arrive at a potluck with no covered dish, now would you?’
      • ‘At $5.75 an order they'd be a genius thing to bring to a potluck, too.’
      • ‘An analogy of the coating layer is Jell-O: remember all those potlucks where a Jell-O dish featured fruit suspended in green gelatin?’
      • ‘Afterwards, we've organized a crabapple tree planting and then a potluck at 5: 00.’
      • ‘And here I am stuck at my office's stupid summer pot luck!’
      • ‘Make the meals potluck to ease the burden of cooking for large numbers.’
      • ‘Bring a favorite low sodium dish to a pot luck, especially if you expect few other low sodium choices.’
      • ‘So, where we used to have meetings with an action agenda, we're now having potlucks so people can feel safe coming together.’
      • ‘The idea was to throw a dinner party where everyone would bring a dish, à la potluck.’
      • ‘The potluck involves each guest preparing and bringing a dish to the event, to be shared by all the diners.’
      • ‘That is done at PTA meetings, Kiwanis clubs and neighborhood potlucks.’
      • ‘The next alteration came when I was supposed to bring a dish to a company potluck.’
      • ‘If you hope the party will rage into lunch, make it a potluck.’
      • ‘Instead of bringing food to the potluck, they take it home.’