Gain access to thousands of additional definitions and advanced search features—ad free! JOIN NOW
: a race or contest in which the entire prize may be awarded to the winner
: stakes race
: contest, competition
: any of various lotteries
Recent Examples on the Web
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.
1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1a
Middle English swepestake one who wins all the stakes in a game, from swepen to sweep + stake
Keep scrolling for more
Resources for sweepstakes
sweep (someone) off his/her feet
sweep (something) under the carpet
sweep (something) under the rug
19 Aug 2018
Time Traveler for sweepstakes
See more words from the same year
More Definitions for sweepstakes
: a race or contest in which the winner receives all the prize money
: a contest in which money or prizes are given to winners picked by chance (as by drawing names)
Sweepstakes can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking.
More from Merriam-Webster on sweepstakes
See words that rhyme with sweepstakes
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweepstakes
Spanish Central: Translation of sweepstakes
Nglish: Translation of sweepstakes for Spanish Speakers
Comments on sweepstakes
What made you want to look up sweepstakes? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to make amends
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Musical Words Quiz
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
Red Cross Warns of Shelter Conditions
RIP Burt Reynolds
NYT Publishes Anonymous Piece
Kavanaugh Mentions Word in Hearing
Manafort Guilty on 8 Counts
Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
How a folk song became a term of derision.
Sorry, not sorry
The participle made famous by Elvis
A not-so-sarcastic history
And is one way more correct than the others?
The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
The awkward case of 'his or her'
A quiz in common time.
Build a city of skyscrapers—one synonym at a time.