30-Second Word Whoop(s): “Lottery” and “Lot”

You may feel you’re stuck with your lot in life, unless fortunes change and you win the lottery.

“Lottery,” defined as a game of chance, stems from the Italian lotteria. It’s rooted in the Old English “lot” — hlot, with a silent “H” — which means an “object (anything from dice to straw, but often a chip of wood with a name inscribed on it) used to determine someone’s share,” also “what falls to a person by lot.” In other words, a portion or share that is not necessarily meant for sharing.

There’s a lot about Lot in the Bible. In Genesis, he travels with his uncle Abram, has incestuous relations with his daughters — hey, this is the guy Jesus descended from? Indeed, “through David’s great-grandmother Ruth, who is descended from Lot’s son Moab,” according to Wikipedia. And, just guessing, the Bible as a second source.

I suppose we all take chances when we procreate.

Drawing lots can sometimes mean the “winner” is a loser, as some dreaded task befalls the one holding the short lot.

Parking lots allow us to fit a lot of cars in one place, saving lots of time getting in and out because of their orderly arrangement. One place you don’t want a ticket is a parking lot.

From order, we know, comes chaos.

An empty or abandoned lot offers either lots of potential or dread. It’s also a good place to find sticks and chips of wood in order to draw lots.

The game of lotto — which the dictionary defines as “bingo” — relies on a whole lotta luck and random forces being aligned in your favor. Chances are, you won’t win.

To increase your chances, though, dive in with a pool of people and divvy up shares — “lots” to be parceled out — which may prod you to trade in your current house and lot for something more stately, perhaps with pillars.

Just beware the fate of Lot’s wife who, when fleeing Sodom, looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

Dumb luck.

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About Terry Byrne

Writer-editor with deep reservations about holding her tongue. Fan of both nature and nurture. Lifelong fascination with gender studies, sexuality, music and brainpower.

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