sweep·​stakes | \ˈswēp-ˌstāks \
also sweep-stake\ ˈswēp-​ˌstāk \

Definition of sweepstakes 

1a : a race or contest in which the entire prize may be awarded to the winner specifically : stakes race

b : contest, competition

2 : any of various lotteries

Examples of sweepstakes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Roberta Prospeck walked into the Floor & Decor store at 16300 W. Bluemound Road, on May 12 and won a sweepstakes competition, according to a news release. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "1 in 46,000: Brookfield woman beats odds and wins $1 million," 4 June 2018 Financial exploitation can take the form of sweepstakes scams, phony IRS agents, grandparent and romance scams, and guardian misconduct. Erin Arvedlund, Philly.com, "Philly DA Krasner's new unit to prosecute elder financial abusers," 22 June 2018 Southwest is also hosting a sweepstakes for a chance to win a five-day, all-inclusive Great White Shark cage diving trip. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Southwest planes get some teeth to honor Discovery Channel's Shark Week," 9 July 2018 Sonny’s BBQ is marking its golden anniversary with a sweepstakes that will allow one diner to try its specially created 24K gold ribs valued at $1,968. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Sonny's BBQ celebrating 50th anniversary with 24K gold ribs," 2 July 2018 Apart from the Islanders and Stars, every team in the sweepstakes offers some combination of a lucrative contract, a recent track record of success, loyalty, national glory and a commitment to winning, both now and down the road. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "Could top NHL free agent John Tavares pick Dallas? We could find out Saturday," 29 June 2018 Radiohead and Edward Norton have announced a special concert sweepstakes to benefit the ACLU. Sofia Mele, Billboard, "Radiohead & Edward Norton Announce Concert Sweepstakes for ACLU," 28 June 2018 Shoppers can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a year’s supply of Aldi produce. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "Remodeled Aldi store in Carpentersville set to reopen Thursday," 26 June 2018 The sweepstakes is open to Michigan residents 18 and older who will have children ages 0-17 as of Sept. 30, 2018. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Here's why you should give 529 college savings plans a second look," 26 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of sweepstakes

1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sweepstakes

Middle English swepestake one who wins all the stakes in a game, from swepen to sweep + stake

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The first known use of sweepstakes was in 1774

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English Language Learners Definition of sweepstakes

: a race or contest in which the winner receives all the prize money


noun plural
sweep·​stakes | \ˈswēp-ˌstāks \

Kids Definition of sweepstakes

: a contest in which money or prizes are given to winners picked by chance (as by drawing names)

Hint: Sweepstakes can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking.

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by force of circumstances

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