sor·​ti·​tion | \ sȯr-ˈti-shən How to pronounce sortition (audio) \

Definition of sortition

: the act or an instance of casting lots

Examples of sortition in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Private property first appeared as a concept in sacred contexts, as did police functions and a whole panoply of formal democratic procedures, such as election and sortition. David Graeber, Harper's Magazine, 26 Oct. 2021 This sortition system would give you a more accurate, representative sample of what the public actually wants than a system of universal compulsory voting. Danielle Allen, Harper's Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 The ancient Athenian choice of sortition—the selection of government by lottery—was based on the understanding that elections would inevitably favor the aristocracy, and in a democracy the government should be a mirror of the governed. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 15 July 2019 My book is a plea to enrich the current electoral model of representative democracy with an element of sortition: the use of random samples of everyday citizens who deliberate and make informed policy proposals. New York Times, 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sortition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sortition

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sortition

Latin sortition-, sortitio, from sortiri to cast or draw lots, from sort-, sors lot

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The first known use of sortition was in 1597

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Cite this Entry

“Sortition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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