draw straws

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Related to drew straws: drew the short straw
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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

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 ?
Jack picked her name in a game of cards, Chris drew straws.
Peters, who slept on bleached flour-sacks and shared the Saturday-night bath water with two siblings (they drew straws to decide who would go first), had little in the way of culture at home, but enough to make him a poet.
The hairy spiders were being taken to a reptile show - and officers drew straws to decide who would have to drive the van.
They drew straws during practice on Morpeth Common to decide who would pin the suffragette colours to the King's horse, and Emily drew the short straw.
The pair drew straws to see who would face the public vote after Big Brother dispensed with the usual nomination process.
Dorothy has three daughters and they drew straws for which one would go to Seaham with her.