lot (n.)

Old English hlot "object used to determine someone's share" (anything from dice to straw, but often a chip of wood with a name inscribed on it), also "what falls to a person by lot," from Proto-Germanic *khlutom (source also of Old Norse hlutr "lot, share," Old Frisian hlot "lot," Old Saxon hlot, Middle Dutch, Dutch lot, Old High German hluz "share of land," German Los), from a strong verb (the source of Old English hleotan "to cast lots, obtain by lot; to foretell"). The whole group is of unknown origin.

The object was placed with others in a receptacle (such as a hat or helmet), which was shaken, the winner being the one whose name or mark was on the lot that fell out first. Hence the expression cast lots; to cast (one's) lot with another (1530s, originally biblical) is to agree to share winnings. In some cases the lots were drawn by hand, hence to draw lots. The word was adopted from Germanic into the Romanic languages (Spanish lote, and compare lottery, lotto).

Meaning "choice resulting from the casting of lots" first attested c. 1200. Meaning "share or portion of life" in any way, "that which is given by fate, God or destiny" is from c. 1300. Meaning "number of persons or things of the same kind" is from 1570s (compare Latin mala merx, of persons, literally "a bad lot"). Sense of "plot of land" is first recorded 1630s, American English (distribution of the most desirable properties in new settlements often was determined by casting lots), then especially "parcel of land set aside for a specified purpose" (the Hollywood sense is from 1928). The common U.S. city lot was a rectangle 25 feet wide (along the street) by 100 deep; it was so universal as to be sometimes a unit of measure.

Meaning "group, collection" is 1725, from the notion of auction lots. Lots in the generalized sense of "great many" is attested by 1812; lotsa, colloquial for "lots of," is from 1927; lotta for "lot of" is by 1906.

updated on December 26, 2018

Definitions of lot from WordNet
lot (n.)
(often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent;
a lot of money
Synonyms: batch / deal / flock / good deal / great deal / hatful / heap / mass / mess / mickle / mint / mountain / muckle / passel / peck / pile / plenty / pot / quite a little / raft / sight / slew / spate / stack / tidy sum / wad
lot (n.)
a parcel of land having fixed boundaries;
he bought a lot on the lake
lot (n.)
an unofficial association of people or groups;
they were an angry lot
Synonyms: set / circle / band
lot (n.)
your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you);
has a happy lot
lot (n.)
anything (straws or pebbles etc.) taken or chosen at random;
they drew lots for it
Synonyms: draw
lot (n.)
any collection in its entirety;
Synonyms: bunch / caboodle
lot (v.)
divide into lots, as of land, for example;
lot (v.)
administer or bestow, as in small portions;
Synonyms: distribute / administer / mete out / deal / parcel out / dispense / shell out / deal out / dish out / allot / dole out
Lot (n.)
(Old Testament) nephew of Abraham; God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah but chose to spare Lot and his family who were told to flee without looking back at the destruction;
From, not affiliated with etymonline.