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