Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: GAMBLING

Date: 1700-1800
Origin: sweepstake 'someone who takes all the winnings in a game' (15-18 centuries), from sweep + stake

sweepstake

noun
     
sweep‧stake British English , sweepstakes American English [countable]
1DGG a type of betting in which the winner receives all the money risked by everyone else
2 American English a type of competition in which you have the chance to win a prize if your name is chosen
3 American English a competition, election etc in which no one knows who will be the winner:
the presidential sweepstakes
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