Word of the Day: lot

Word of the Day
July 11, 2016
lot (noun)
/lɑt/  sound icon
 
The Millers are a friendly lot.
A lot is one of a group of objects drawn from a container to decide something by chance or the method of deciding something this way, and it is also the decision made with this method. A lot is also a share of something or a piece of land and, figuratively, it means 'destiny or fate.' A lot is a number or things or objects or a large amount of something. Informally and mainly in British English, lot is used to talk about a group of people.

 

Example sentences
 
They decided who would go first by drawing lots.
The winner was chosen by lot.
The treasure was divided up and each person had his or her lot.
The farmland was divided up into lots for building new homes.
Karen has a good life and, all in all, she is happy with her lot.
I have a lot of work to do today.
I'm very lucky; the people I work with are a good lot.

 

Additional information
 
Lot is also a verb that means 'to divide something by lots', but it is rarely used nowadays, with the verb allot being used instead.
 
Did you know?
 
To refer to a large quantity or amount of something, you can either use a lot or lots. So you can say, "There are lots of ways to be happy" or "There are a lot of ways to be happy." There isn't any real different between the two, although lots is perhaps a little more informal than a lot, and a lot is probably more common.
 
Origin
 
Lot has been in use since before the year 950, as lot in Middle English, meaning 'portion, choice or decision,' or 'the thing used to make the decision.' It comes from the Old English hlot, with the same meaning, and is similar to the Dutch word lot, and the Old Norse hlutr. It is related to the Old English word hlīet, the German Los, the Old Norse hlaut and the Gothic hlauts, meaning share of land, as well as the Old English verb hleotan, meaning to foretell. It's only been used to mean 'many' since the early 19th century.
 
 
 
 
 
Lot in other languages
 
 
 
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