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8 Origins of Popular Sayings (Slideshow)

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2. “Drawing a Blank.”

Meaning: Unable to recall something.

Background: The phrase “drawing a blank” refers to a lottery. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I decided to raise money through a national lottery system. No scratch tickets or plastic balls with numbers on them were involved! Instead, there were two “lot pots” — one with tickets of players’ names, and the other with an equal number of tickets that had prizes written on them. Not all of them had a prize written on it, though, and the phrase “drawing a blank” was born.

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

226 comments

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1:00PM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Thanks

2:44AM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

Thanks for this interesting information.

8:06AM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

Very interesting...thanks 4 sharing it!

1:44PM PDT on May 24, 2013

I do enjoy the origin of words or sayings.

12:17PM PDT on May 15, 2013

I really loved this

7:51PM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Really loved this article!

4:26AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Really Neat Article! TY!

10:53PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Thanks.

9:47PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Interesting, thanks.

7:28AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Fascinating stuff...

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