- 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
Related Wordsforthwith, swiftly, promptly, arbitrarily, immediately, readily, speedily, expeditiously, peremptorily
Examples from the Web for arbitrarily
Many of the others were arbitrarily sentenced under similar charges of “acting” or “conspiring” against national security.Forget About a Kindler Gentler Iran
August 19, 2014
In reality, the Iraqi borders had been arbitrarily drawn and disregarded 2,000 years of tribal, sectarian, and nomadic occupation.Gertrude of Arabia, the Woman Who Invented Iraq
June 17, 2014
If the IRS can target and discriminate against one group of Americans, it can arbitrarily do it to anyone.The IRS Will Come for You Next, Unless Congress Acts Now
May 17, 2013
Yet the current debate is arbitrarily restricted to the chief public component of the American retirement system, Social Security.What About Increased Social Security Benefits?
April 9, 2013
Who wants to leave their cash in an institution that unilaterally and arbitrarily reduces its deposit insurance commitment?Cyprus on Fire? Blame the German Bullies.
March 19, 2013
A mistake; they lack only the right of arbitrarily dismissing the insubordinate.Freeland
He had arisen to his feet as if arbitrarily to end the argument.The Plunderer
They arbitrarily decide what is, and what is not, in the public interest.The Invisible Government
But they did not arbitrarily do that which it seemed to them they might have done.
I have invented it, by arbitrarily identifying the moment of its departure.Fantazius Mallare
- 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 arbitrarily
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.