Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"When Billy wakes up, we'll draw lots," Loraine decided gently.

Mebbe we'll have to do what shipwrecked sailors do, draw lots for a sacrifice.

Would it not be good to draw lots to see who shall do it first?

They made him draw lots, and then placed him in a line with the rest.

Every time we elect a new member we draw lots again for buddies.

I know them so slightly, as yet, and the best way is to draw lots.

“We will draw lots to settle who is to colt him,” said Ernest.

We are to draw lots for the rest, so that there shall be no favouritism.

"I think it would be best if we were to draw lots," said Enid.

There was just one way of getting that bread, and that was to draw lots.


Old English hlot "object (anything from dice to straw, but often a chip of wood with a name inscribed on it) used to determine someone's share," also "what falls to a person by lot," from Proto-Germanic *khlutom (cf. Old Norse hlutr "lot, share," Old Frisian hlot "lot," Old Saxon hlot, Middle Dutch, Dutch lot, Old High German hluz "share of land," German Los; Old English hleotan "to cast lots, to foretell"), of unknown origin. The object was placed with others in a receptacle, which was shaken, the winner being the one that fell out first. Hence, to cast lots. In some cases the lots were drawn by hand. The word was adopted from Germanic into the Romanic languages (cf. lottery, lotto). Meaning "choice resulting from the casting of lots" first attested c.1200.

Sense of "plot of land" is first recorded 1630s (distribution of the best property in new settlements often determined by casting lots), that of "group, collection" is 1725, from notion of auction lots. The generalized sense of "great many" is first attested in 1812. To cast (one's) lot with another is to agree to share winnings.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.