draw straws


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

draw straws

To decide something by picking at random from straws of different lengths. The person who pulls the shortest straw is usually the one chosen for something, often an unpleasant task. Let's draw straws to decide who will go first—it's the only fair way to do it.
See also: draw, straw

draw straws

Also, draw lots. Decide by a lottery using straws of different lengths. For example, Let's draw straws to see who will write the first draft. The lots version dates from the 1400s, whereas straws dates from the 1800s. Both have replaced the still older draw cuts. Another variant is draw the short straw, meaning to be the one so selected for a particular task.
See also: draw, straw

draw straws

If you draw straws, you decide who will do something or have something by choosing pieces of straw or something similar with different lengths. We drew straws for the crash helmets. We drew straws for who had to make dinner, and I lost.
See also: draw, straw

ˌdraw ˈstraws (for something)

decide on somebody to do or have something, by choosing pieces of paper, etc: We drew straws for who went first.
See also: draw, straw

draw straws

To decide by a lottery with straws of unequal lengths.
See also: draw, straw
References in periodicals archive ?
Ms Porksen said last night: "If that ballot paper gets rejected, it will be 431-431, we would have to draw straws.
ANYTIME Draw straws to see who drives when you make a day of it on a visit to Benromach distillery on the outskirts of Forres.
I suppose it wouldn't have been quite as bad if he had been really hungry like those poor chaps who get lost at sea for months and months and then finally draw straws to decide who should belunch,'' she said.
Trustees decided to make the men draw straws after saying they could not decide between them.
Families draw straws if a conflict arises over who has first dibs on a tool.
On girlie holidays they used to draw straws to see who would share my room.
Muroc Joint Unified School District trustees couldn't decide between applicants Adkins and Derek Dewar to fill the vacancy, so they had the men draw straws.
She told him the variety show must be a strain for the royals and added: "I bet when that envelope comes through the front door you all draw straws for who comes to this.