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[pot-luhk, -luhk] /ˈpɒtˌlʌk, -ˈlʌk/
food or a meal that happens to be available without special preparation or purchase:
to take potluck with a friend.
Also called potluck supper, potluck dinner, potluck lunch. a meal, especially for a large group, to which participants bring various foods to be shared.
whatever is available or comes one's way:
With fluctuating interest rates, homebuyers are learning to take potluck with the banks.
Origin of potluck
First recorded in 1585-95; pot1 + luck Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pot luck
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To look at their choice, they would always seem to have fired recklessly into the brown and got pot luck.

    The Celebrity at Home Violet Hunt
  • Literally ‘pot luck,’ I mean, for the piece de resistance will be two huge pots of baked beans.

    The Girls of Hillcrest Farm

    Amy Bell Marlowe
  • Come with me and I will give you pot luck until six o'clock, then you'll get your dinner, and not a minute sooner.

    Playing With Fire Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • We were just sitting down to dinner so Grandfather asked him to stay and have “pot luck” with us.

    Village Life in America 1852-1872 Caroline Cowles Richards
  • He said that he was very much “obleeged” and stayed and passed his plate a second time for more of our very fine “pot luck.”

    Village Life in America 1852-1872 Caroline Cowles Richards
British Dictionary definitions for pot luck

pot luck

noun (informal)
  1. whatever food happens to be available without special preparation
  2. (as modifier): a pot-luck dinner
whatever is available (esp in the phrase take pot luck)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pot luck



also pot-luck, 1590s, from pot (n.1) + luck; with notion of "one's luck or chance as to what may be in the pot." As an adjective from 1775.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pot luck


adverb phrase

: Come on and dine pot luck


: pot-luck supper

noun phrase

A meal composed of odds and ends of leftovers, or of whatever turns up (1600+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with pot luck


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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