sweep·​stakes | \ ˈswēp-ˌstāks How to pronounce sweepstakes (audio) \
also sweep-stake\ ˈswēp-​ˌstāk How to pronounce sweep-stake (audio) \

Definition of sweepstakes

1a : a race or contest in which the entire prize may be awarded to the winner specifically : stakes race
2 : any of various lotteries

Examples of sweepstakes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Prizeo, a sweepstakes-for-good platform, is running a campaign for one lucky fan and a guest to meet John Mayer and take home his guitar. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Fans Can Now Enter a Sweepstakes to Meet John Mayer," 4 June 2019 Diners can enter a sweepstakes for a fishing trip off Florida’s Gulf Coast with executive chef Ray Comiskey. Samantha Nelson, chicagotribune.com, "23 Father's Day specials and all-you-can-eat feasts around Chicagoland," 7 June 2019 Shoppers can also sample Aldi-brand foods and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a year’s supply of produce. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Aldi opens second San Diego store in Mira Mesa," 6 June 2019 Amazon on Tuesday made official what leaks had suggested for a week: Arlington County, Virginia, and the Long Island City neighborhood of New York had won the sweepstakes for what initially was called HQ2. Matt Day, The Seattle Times, "Amazon shifts its sights to the East Coast," 13 Nov. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sweepstakes

Statistics for sweepstakes

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sweepstakes

The first known use of sweepstakes was in 1774

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sweepstakes



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 How to pronounce sweepstakes (audio) \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sweepstakes

Rhyming Dictionary: 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).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!