- subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion: an arbitrary decision.
- decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by a law or statute.
- having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical: an arbitrary government.
- capricious; unreasonable; unsupported: an arbitrary demand for payment.
- Mathematics. undetermined; not assigned a specific value: an arbitrary constant.
- arbitraries, Printing. (in Britain) peculiar(def 9).
Origin of arbitrary
Examples from the Web for arbitrary
The truth is that Judd is really just picking an arbitrary number since there is no script.Inside Sony’s ‘Pineapple Express 2 Drama’: Leaked Emails Reveal Fight Over Stoner Comedy Sequel
December 21, 2014
Pinker is not a self-appointed enforcer of arbitrary rules, and he has little patience for purists, prigs, and pedants.Go Ahead, End With a Preposition: Grammar Rules We All Can Live With
November 3, 2014
Time and time again, we see women being asked to ace some arbitrary test in order to be deemed model victims.Why We're So Hard on Janay Rice and Celebrity Survivors of Abuse
September 15, 2014
Gandley feels that any distinction between pro-anorexia sites and some healthy living sites are arbitrary.Should Pro-Anorexia Sites Be Criminalized?
August 30, 2014
“The basic aim of a democratic regime is to curb the use of arbitrary powers against its citizens,” West writes.How We Got to Ferguson—a Reading List
August 23, 2014
Why, she was called in the Institution, Harriet Beadle—an arbitrary name, of course.
I wish Society was not so arbitrary, I wish it was not so exacting—Bird, be quiet!'
He was arbitrary, but he was not so arbitrary as his instructions.
It is not an average of freight rates, but is an arbitrary figure.About sugar buying for Jobbers
B. W. Dyer
"Justice is altogether an arbitrary, a relative phrase," Wrayson declared.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
- founded on or subject to personal whims, prejudices, etc; capricious
- having only relative application or relevance; not absolute
- (of a government, ruler, etc) despotic or dictatorial
- maths not representing any specific valuean arbitrary constant
- law (esp of a penalty or punishment) not laid down by statute; within the court's discretion
Word Origin and History for arbitrary
early 15c., "deciding by one's own discretion," from Old French arbitraire (14c.) or directly from Latin arbitrarius "depending on the will, uncertain," from arbiter (see arbiter). The original meaning gradually descended to "capricious" and "despotic" (1640s). Related: Arbitrarily; arbitrariness.