Definition of lottery noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlɒtəri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɑːtəri//
    (pl. lotteries)
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  1. 1[countable] a way of raising money for a government, charity, etc. by selling tickets that have different numbers on them that people have chosen. Numbers are then chosen by chance and the people who have those numbers on their tickets win prizes. the national/state lottery a lottery ticket compare draw, raffle Wordfinderbet, casino, chip, croupier, gambling, lottery, odds, roulette, stake, streak CulturelotteriesBritain did not have a national lottery until 1994 when the government finally approved the project despite strong opposition. The National Lottery is run by a private company, which was given the franchise (= licence) to run it by the National Lottery Commission.The lottery was an immediate success with the public and its ‘crossed fingers’ logo, a sign that is supposed to bring luck, is familiar throughout Britain. Lottery tickets are sold at many shops and supermarkets. It is also possible to buy lottery tickets online. For a minimum of £2 people choose a row or rows of six numbers between 1 and 49, or take a lucky dip of random numbers. The draw ceremony is broadcast every Saturday and Wednesday night. One of three machines containing 49 numbered balls is switched on and, after the balls have been turned, seven are tipped out. The first six are the winning numbers, the seventh is the bonus ball. Anyone who has chosen the six winning numbers wins or shares the jackpot (= the main prize), worth several million pounds. People with three, four or five matching numbers, or five plus the bonus ball, can also win prizes. If nobody wins the jackpot there is a rollover to the next draw. About 50% of the population play the National Lottery once a month. There are also other smaller draws run by the same company. Some people also buy Instants, cards which show, when the surface is scratched off, if the buyer has won a prize. Some of the money raised by the lottery is shared out among a variety of good causes such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and UK Sport. The lottery is not popular with everyone, and many charities complain that they have received less money from the public since the lottery began.The US does not have a national lottery but there are lotteries in most states. US lotteries date back to 1776 when the Continental Congress gave its approval for lottery tickets to be sold to raise money for the American Revolution. America's strong religious groups have always been against long-running lotteries, and lottery games did not become official until the 1970s.
  2. 2[singular] (often disapproving) a situation whose success or result is based on luck rather than on effort or careful organization synonym gamble Some people think that marriage is a lottery. see also postcode lottery
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent.: probably from Dutch loterij, from lot ‘lot’.Extra examples A couple scooped £10 million on the national lottery. I won my car in a lottery The lottery has raised millions of pounds. The second ball rolled from the lottery machine. These programs use state lotteries to fund the student awards. We’re having a lottery to raise money for homeless families. a $3 million lottery jackpot the company that ran the state lottery Politicians have acknowledged that it is a bit of a lottery who gets funding.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lottery

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