casting lots


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.casting lots - making a chance decision by using lots (straws or pebbles etc.) that are thrown or drawn
decision, determination, conclusion - the act of making up your mind about something; "the burden of decision was his"; "he drew his conclusions quickly"
References in classic literature ?
(as it is almost everywhere at this day, except Tartary), there is no danger of inundations of people; but when there be great shoals of people, which go on to populate, without foreseeing means of life and sustentation, it is of necessity that once in an age or two, they discharge a portion of their people upon other nations; which the ancient northern people were wont to do by lot; casting lots what part should stay at home, and what should seek their fortunes.
They had been accustomed to each other's appearance, and to the gradual operation of hunger and hardship upon their frames, but the change in the looks of these men, since last they parted, was a type of the famine and desolation of the land; and they now began to indulge the horrible presentiment that they would all starve together, or be reduced to the direful alternative of casting lots!
The sailors mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great tempest was upon them.
"I want the dice and the box for casting lots. The captains have arranged--most wisely, as I think--that Chance shall decide among us who goes with the expedition and who stays behind in the huts.