A scheme for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance; esp., a gaming scheme in which one or more tickets bearing particular numbers draw prizes, and the rest of the tickets are blanks. Fig.: An affair of chance.
- A contest in which tokens are distributed or sold, the winning token or tokens being secretly predetermined or ultimately selected in a random drawing.
- A selection made by lot from a number of applicants or competitors: The state uses a lottery to assign spaces in the campground.
- An activity or event regarded as having an outcome depending on fate: They considered combat duty a lottery.