draw straws(redirected from draws straws)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To decide by a lottery with straws of unequal lengths.