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 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

draw straws

To decide by a lottery with straws of unequal lengths.
See also: draw, straw
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
If Browning and Michl remain tied after the recount, they will be called in to draw straws to pick a winner.
Forced to produce the sculpture or a million bucks, the group comes up with what must be the worst plan ever: Thanks to Holly's job, they'll take out life insurance policies and then draw straws to see who gets bumped off -- and who does the bumping.
AWOULD-BE county councillor was denied the chance to draw straws for a place in office after returning officers threw out her complaints of a spoiled ballot paper.
We see them on the monitor then draw straws as to whos going to go in and stop them and its usually me.
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.
We draw straws. I lose so Dave gets stuck into the red wine as I sip my lime and soda and try not to look bitter.
Families draw straws if a conflict arises over who has first dibs on a tool.