draw straws


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draw straws

To decide something by picking at random from straws of different lengths. The person who pulls the shortest straw is usually the winner (or loser if they have "won" something unpleasant). 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 ?
At any age, they can draw straws or throw dice to decide who gets first choice, then insist that the other son gets the next turn.
Did you draw straws to see who gets to talk to Thrasher?
Us parents generally draw straws to see who has to go with the smaller kids.
DON'T be tempted to drink and drive - blood-alcohol limits in Corsica are lower than in the UK so draw straws for the orange juice.
The special moment is choreographed and the dykes draw straws in order to plan the femme's rite of initiation (which is gang rape).
But as their numbers dwindled and rations ran out, the decision was made to, in essence, draw straws to see who would volunteer to be shot to provide "food" for the others.
If an employer had to make the hire/don't hire decision based solely on the information in the stack of written resumes in front of her, she might just as well draw straws.
A hip injury stopped Botica from making his debut and forced the Scarlets to draw straws for goal-kicking duties.