Pronunciation: (swēp'stāks"), [key]
n. (used with a sing. or pl. v.)
1. a race or other contest for which the prize consists of the stakes contributed by the various competitors.
2. the prize itself.
3. a lottery in which winning tickets are selected at random, each winning-ticket number then being matched to one of the horses nominated for or entered in a specific race, and the amounts paid the winners being determined by the finishing order of the horses that run.
4. lottery (def. 2).
5. any gambling transaction in which each of a number of persons contributes a stake, and the stakes are awarded to one or several winners.
6. a risky venture that promises large rewards: the high-tech sweepstakes.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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